Necromunda RPG- Long Watch Epsilon

This Necromunda based RPG is set in the Hollows, a settlement within an area known as Hollow Run, so named because it is a series of hollowed out pipes, pathways and domes inside one of Necromunda’s ancient external (now internal) walls. The wall itself was once half mile thick plascrete with only access tunnels and ventways passing through it, but the millennia of construction on top of it caused cracks to appear, then fissures and finally caverns- many of which have been further hollowed out and enlarged by settlers seeking security behind the remaining walls.

The result of this habitation is almost a city within a city, the curved exterior walls that separate the hollows from the nearby badzones hide within several spaces easily the size of small towns, with buildings and tunnels branching up and along their length where more settlements and factorums can be found following the curve. The Hollows itself is the largest and most prosperous of these settlements, primarily due to its location in the walls aged gatehouse on one of the Underhive’s most well used trading routes. the walls of the gate are covered in Habs and stores now, only the control centre above the entrance than spans the gates width and bears vast insignia of the Guild of Iron still looking functional. One of the underhives lost treasures provides the Hollows with it's wealth now- a functioning mag-lev lift up to the higher levels of the underhive that can carry a dozen ore haulers, shortening their journey to the manufactorums of house Goliath and Orlock considerably. 

The several hundred souls that live and work in the Hollows are almost all tied in some way to the Guild of Iron, once masters of this gate as they sent expeditions into the greater world to gather valuable resources for sale to the great house. Now the gatehouse is defunct, but the Guild still keeps a few staff in its imposing Guild house hanging above the road, directly over the Hollows. Expeditions are still launched from here, though now they more often travel into the underhive and surrounding badzones for salvage than out into the wastes.

As the population of Hollow Run has increased the guild has had to strengthen its presence in order to keep order amongst the generally fractious underhivers, and as such have recruited several Venator groups to work as enforcers and protect their interests.

After wandering the underhive working as a jobbing Escher bounty hunter Ava arrived at the hollows 7/8 cycles ago.  As her Venator license was already established she was taken on as a guard on the oncycle watch, after a while passed Elsu- a local Ratskin dome-runnerwho wanted to sign up was temporarily assigned to her watch to make up for a lack of staff until the next intake in a few cycles.


Grimm the ex-Goliath, Old Timer (OT for short, followed by his eternally loyal cyber mastiff Duchess) an aged Orlock and the mysterious Van Saar Hans had all heard about the Venator offer in the Hollows so had each individually trekked or hitched there- all of them ending up on the same ore crawler for the last leg of the journey. They arrived and spoke to Ava who was on guard duty- OT explaining he was another member of the faithful. they are told to wait until called,  The Guild of Iron intake is about an hour later and they were all taken up, 

The Venators are briefly interviewed and shown to a large auditorium where they are organised into three watches- the oncycle watch, the offcycle watch and the long watch. The party are part of the long watch and their role is explained by Sineas Ferrum, the Guild Bursar of this house.

Sineas is a short, slightly rotund individual with bionic enhancements around his cranium and at least one bionic arm. His other arm is covered in a black leather glove which is tailored to match the grey and black robes covering the rest of him. He is unused to crowds and prefers the company of his ledgers and servitors but will not be as standoffish as many guild representatives can be. upon inspection it is clear that he is an uphiver of some sort, likely from a noble hose though it is unclear which one. 

“Where the oncycle watch and offcycle watch will largely be concerning them with defending our property and keeping the peace in the settlement, the Long Watch is more of a ranging force for the execution of, shall we say…. pre-emptive defence? Your role is to identify those individuals within the area that have official bounties on their heads, then if they are judged to be a threat to the stability of this region you will venture out and claim these bounties.

Obviously the financial rewards for these hunts will be paid directly to you, so the more criminals you bring in, the better you get paid. However this does mean that unlike the other two watches your subsistence stipend is very low- the guild will only provide board and sustenance to long watch venators, everything else you must earn the hard way.”

All present were given a chance to quiz Sineas about the various roles, and he will offer a few of them the chance to swap to another watch, though he will stress that this group was chosen due to their skills and expertise. The Characters will be grouped together as ‘Long Watch Epsilon’ or simply Epsilon in short form with Ava as their veteran, despite her inexperience in the area.

Sineas then introduces them to Ironfound Carollyn, the head of the house security.
The Ironfound is a tall, gaunt woman who bears the characteristics of house Delaque. Her robe is in the house colours and hides everything but her head, and she is heavily adorned with ornate iron jewellery and her guilder badge of office hanging round her neck. The pair are accompanied by a servo skull which has several scroll cases hanging from its mechadendrite.

“You have what can only be referred to as a dirty job to do, Sineas here has passed out the other bounties we know to be in the area and only one remains, though it is one with decent pay and some merit to its execution. The water guild have reported a large mutant attacking the sewage pumping station coreward of the Hollows, supported by several ragged figures- we think this may be a scavvy gang rallying around one of their scaly brethren. 

Their attacks have been repulsed but the automated defences are running low on ammunition and need restocking, or the threat removing. The water guild offer a bounty of 200 creds for the mutants death, and an additional 20 creds per scavvy slain in the process. They offer an additional 75 creds for each magazine of heavy stubber ammunition delivered to the station if you feel like a bit of lugging around- though as this is outside the long watch remit we will leave this to your discretion.”

At this point the servoskull presents itself, and Sinneas removed the scrolls, passing one to each present and rolling the remaining one out before the group on a nearby pedestal. The iron found will continue:

“These are your bounty hunter patents, stamped and sealed by the guildmaster himself. Whilst you bear these seals all merchant guilds and house enforcers are contractually obliged to assist you in your lawful role as executors of imperial law. Do not abuse these powers as we have little tolerance for wayward hunters in this area.

With that she turns and walks out of the room, leaving the bursar and the servoskull behind, he takes up where the Ironfound left off:

"If you choose to accept this hunt then place your thumb on the seal on your patent, then once it has extracted your genecode press it again to the seal on the bounty contract. If you do not wish to accept you may gather your belongings and return to the settlement below, without the patent. If you have any further questions please direct them to me, I'm always around somewhere.”

Once the bursar was satisfied all the new Venators have taken the hunt, he rolled up the scroll, and hands it to the skull which attaches it to its own underside and blinks its eyes briefly green.

“This is geneskull T48-0b, or ‘Bob’ as I tend to address him. He has the genescent of the mutant you are tracking and can help lead you to it. Once dead he will collect samples and along with the pictscan’s he makes of the hunt this will be your evidence of a successful kill. Do try to take care of him as he is the only proof the water guild accept before they pay you, though I will say he is an absolute coward and programmed to hide at the slightest sign of trouble.”

At this point Sinneas chrono chimed, and after finding it amongst his robes (he pulls his guilder badge out amongst other bits of tat first) he apologised and says he is late for another appointment though he wishes the hunters good luck and a lucrative hunt. Ava shows the hunters to their bunks and lockers in the middle section of the control room and Hans finds some Dum-dum ammo in his locker, presumably forgotten by the previous occupant. 

The hunters decided to take the Water Guilds offer up on the reward for the delivery of heavy stubber ammunition for the sewage plants auto-defences. Heading to Big Macks Boom Shack they convinced the owner to let them have the bulk stubber ammo (4 crates) at a discount after Ava sweet talked her and Grimm helped her test a recent purchase (a sentinel mounted Missile launcher too heavy to fire herself). 


In a local stimm-caff they found a hauler willing to take them as far as the ‘turnoff’ for Aquifer gate in return for a bit of fire support in case of emergency in addition to their own Orlock dirt runners in a ridge rider (this would save almost a full cycle of travel, leaving them only a few cycles worth of walking after the drop off). The convoy (2 empty Haulers and the Ridge Runner) set off soon after with most of the Venators on guard, only Ava staying inside out of the way with the servo skull.

Driving up the cleared path on the outside of the massive wall two cycles passed without much of any interest happening when Elsu spotted think black smoke on the edge of view- he pointed it out to Hans who confirmed it was probably oil smoke. They caught the attention of the driver’s partner in the cab and pointed it out- he nodded and they continued slightly more warily. As they crested the corner several of the Venators heard the sound of Las-fire and again brought it to the drivers attention, not long after this they saw the source of the smoke and sound- a large ore-hauler had crashed into the ruins at the roadside and was spewing out black smoke. Beside the hauler the Orlock Ridge runner was pinned down by small arms fire from a nearby building, the Multilaser gunner was down and the remaining crew were attempting to man the weapon but couldn’t get to it due to incoming fire.

The Ore haulers driver shouted out that usually in this situation they’d floor it and leave the scouts to fight the ambush off, but as they had the extra punch of the Venators he asked them what they thought; they decided to get involved and save the Orlocks (OT in particular was keen to help his brothers out). Elsu used his droprig to decamp from the moving hauler and quickly scampered up the tallest ruin he could find (an old Hab-block nearby) and set up on the balcony where he had a good overview of the scene. After listening for a moment and watching the combat he identified 4 renegade Ratskins on the opposite building, 3 with Lasguns and the last with an Autogun, they had heavy cover behind crate and with the elevation had the drop on the Orlocks.

By this time Ava and Grimm had also jumped off the Hauler as it slowed round the corner and began jogging through the ruins toward the base of the building. Hans stayed on board as did OT, and the hauler skidded in between the Ratskins and the Ridge Runner giving them protection and allowing OT safety to jump off and try to medicae the wounded Orlocks. This also left Hans in the haulers turret at extreme range for his suppression laser. Elsu opened the score for the Venators with his long rifle knocking the autogun armed renegade from his perch and sending him tumbling into the rubble at the buildings base.  Hans followed up with his suppression laser but only succeeded in pinning the closest renegade behind the crates. 

Under the building Ava and Grimm had advanced up close enough to see another renegade prepping some kind of explosive device in a rucksack beneath it- as they moved in to engage Elsu knocked a further renegade off the roof, this time landing on its feet behind the bomber. Hans succeeded in keeping the other Ratskins pinned down whilst weathering a small amount of return fire (though the return shot at Elsu was both way off and depleted the Ratskin’s Lasgun cell). Ava drove the Ratskin bomber away from his device with Lasgun fire, before Grimm announced he was blowing the charge and emptied a salvo round into it. The partial detonation threw bits of bomb in the air, shredded the nearby renegade and weakened the strut it was next to, causing the floors above to sag; crates and other debris began to rain down from the sloping floor- along with another Lasgun renegade who had been blown off balance by Elsu once his barricade had fallen from the ruin.

Old Timer and Duchess

Back at the ridge runner OT had been working on the heavily injured Orlock Gunner, and managed to stabilise him just in time to take a shot himself from another Renegade who had been sneaking unseen through the rubble to the wasteward side- only a barked warning from Duchess stopping him being caught unaware.  Hans heard the autopistol fire and turned his suppression laser on the skulker, a clean focused shot catching the attacker in the side of the head and killing him instantly. 


The newly fallen renegade barely had time to find his feet as Ava ditched her Lasgun and dived in with her paired swords, her initial chainsword strike was deflected by the renegades Lasgun stock, but her stiletto sword drove into his chest easily, its potent venom immobilising him long enough for her to coup-de-gras him with the cry of ‘Ava’s gonna get ya!’. Grimm was struck by the remaining renegade on the floors Lasgun fire which served no purpose other than to irk him, so he replied with another salvo round which slammed his opponent into the wall, bleeding heavily. The final renegade on the roof  was gunned down by the Venators  at the same time as the wounded were dispatched by Grimm and Ava and they moved in to check the scene.

Elsu climbed down from his perch and looted the Ratskin that had snuck up on OT, finding what appeared to be a shamans spirit-pole belonging to the Spiritshadow tribe- their territory is downhive from here but not by a vast distance. He also had an Autopistol and a tattered rat pelt cloak. 

The remaining Ratskins had 3 working Lasguns and an Autogun between them, as well as 15 creds, some alcohol and three more giant rat pelts. Grimm went on the scavenge and managed to find an unexploded frag grenade amongst the discarded explosives and also enough bits in the Lasgun Ava smashed with her chainsaw to maybe build something useful later. The building looked to be in pretty bad shape by now so they evacuated before it could get worse.

The burning oil trailer had the Promethium guilds insignia displayed across it, but was so far gone as to be unsalvageable- the driver of the Iron guild rig decided it would be easier just to let it burn itself out and report it on their return to the Hollows. Hans meanwhile had investigated the oil haulers open topped engine discovering two crew members butchered by Lasgun fire and a shotgun with a handful of executioner shells. Emptying the cabin he found the engine unit still functional and with the help of the healthy carAvan crew and Venators managed to uncouple it from the trailer giving them their own transport that could be worth something to the promethium guild if returned. OT signed off the Orlocks as healthy enough to continue and they headed off, this time with the Venators ahead of the convoy in the promethium engine and the Orlocks bringing up the rear.   

---End of session 1---

 The Venators stick to the road heading towards the junction ahead of the convoy(Hans, Elsu and OT riding in the cab, Duchess behind the seats whilst Ava and Grimm hang on the roll cage at the back). As they drove they were sporadically engaged by small arms fire from the ruins wasteward but nothing major comes of it and they keep moving rather than stopping and risking an ambush. As the convoy reached the ‘Turnoff’ the main road to Aquifer gate could be seen heading wasteward, a crushed ferrocrete path wide enough for several haulers to pass on bulldozed straight through the domes and rubble. The haulers turned off and beep their horn in salute to the Venators which Hans returns in kind before heading onto the smaller road that continues north alongside the wall.

By flooring the rigs accelerator and with some controlled driving Hans manages to avoid any further trouble on the way to the pumping station, the only sign of life a pair of Goliaths at the roadside who look up at the sound of an engine but go back to working on an injured leg as the rig passes. Before long the hum of the pumping station can be heard even above the background machinery of the hive and whilst everyone can hear a strained clacking sound Hans and Grimm identify it as the sound a Heavy stubber on autofire makes when the hammer is dropping next to an empty drum.

Both these sounds increase in volume as the Venators rig turns a final jink in the route to see the station itself under fire from a couple of huddled figure high in the ruins- a third figure is atop the stations gantries returning fire with their own lasweapon. The station itself was a massive plascrete structure embedded into the wall itself, immense pipes stretching out from it and descending into the walls and ground in several directions, all of which were surrounded by heavy gantries. Two heavy stubber turrets flanked the door, though one was immobile and the other was the source of the clacking sound as its machine spirit tracked the attackers unable to fire without fresh ammo. The door was partially open possibly due to damage, and a makeshift barricade of empty supply crates had been built around this breach.

The area around the pumping station

Elsu immediately dropped off the vehicle to take a firing stance by one of the walls bastions just as Hans gunned the engines then handbraked the rig to a stop directly under the attackers firing position. Ava sprang from the back of the vehicle into the lower ruins drawing her lasgun as she ran whilst with a similar but uncharacteristic grace Grimm leapt off the opposing side and headed towards the stations jammed doors, yelling a warning to the inhabitants as he approached.

In the cab OT was lifting Duchess from behind the seats so he could get her out quickly when they stopped, he managed to dump her out the door just as Elsu opened fire on the attackers, narrowly missing what appeared to be a scavvy. Ava fired next knocking one from the roof who lost its grip on a battered lasgun as he fell, though the fall itself only winded it.   Ava saw it scramble to its feet before drawing a rusted axe and scrabbling back behind some rubble too fast for her to draw a bead. Elsu fired again at the remaining attacker and although the shot itself was partially deflected from the battered scrap passing as its armour but as the sheer power of the long rifle shot threw it to the rubble below where it landed on its neck with a sickening crack.

Hans was scoping out the surrounding area with his pistol when he saw OT running across the trucks front and directing Duchess to attack the downed scav, this distracted him as he checked the brakes and ensured OT’s safety.   Grimm meanwhile had reached the makeshift barricade and heard a female voice from the gantries yell ‘friendlies incoming, hold fire greaser!’ as he ducked his head in the door. A second makeshift barricade across a junction of corridors was manned by a wiry, greasy individual in a poorly fitting boiler suit with a laspistol, though he dropped this weapon immediately to grab the two crates of stubber ammo Grimm slid across the floor to him before disappearing down a corridor with them. Grimm himself drew his autogun and put his back to the door in case the rest of the team needed support. In what is now becoming something of a signature moved Ava ditched her lasgun to draw both swords and charge the last Scavvy she could see, leaping the rubble she struck out with her chainsword and although the mutant attempted to parry the spinning teeth carved straight through the axes haft and half removed its head, with a flourish Ava span and finished the job with her stiletto.

OT, Hans ad Ava slowly checked out the remaining rubble for any more enemies with OT sending duchess out to seek and destroy in the shadows, but it looked clear for now. They did find several more Scavvy corpses around the perimeter, mostly riddled with heavy stubber shells and the odd Lasburn. One of them was clearly a full mutant with horns and Hans grabbed it for Elsu to sell to Jugger when they got back to the Hollows. Back in the station a balding, white bearded individual in Water Guild insignia and technical robes covered in rubber hoses and sloshing tanks stuck his head out of a door to the rear of the building and after ascertaining Grimm was a Venator put his needle pistol away and came forward to say thanks. Several Venators drifted in at this point though Elsu mounted the outside of the building and kept watch.

‘Greetings Venators, I am Natan Calhoun, Nautican overseer here at station 43701. Thank you for coming so swiftly, that really was in the nick of time as our automated defences have finally given in. I don’t suppose you brought any ammunition with you? We did ask…”

Grimm motioned towards the corridor the greaser had gone down and the others handed their crates over, after a bit a humming and a half-hearted attempt to short change them he paid them in large denom 50 cred tokens for the ammo and carried on.

‘Excellent, we could have handled things if we hadn’t been so short staffed here all the time, and of course when the first stubber broke it left us blindsided on one flank which allowed them to get close enough to attack the door last night, if any of you are particularly technically minded I’d be grateful if you could take a look at it? Zhuko is a dab hand with pipes but guns aren’t really his thing..’

Grimm and Hans both volunteered to take a look, and after an initial assessment decided that it looked like the machine spirit had been disconnected from the weapon, possibly by small arms fire- as far as the spirit was concerned it was operating normally but no messages were getting through. Between Hans knowledge of the machine spirits workings and Grimm’s skills they could probably repair it if they had tools.

Inside OT was quizzing Natan about any injured staff when a third Water guild member entered through a side door, limping on an injured leg.  Wearing a darker boiler suit than the greaser and with a small badge of Rank on one lapel, she carried a good quality laspistol and a dangerous (and unusual) looking sword. Her long black hair was tied in two plaits down her back, and although greasy she was clearly not a menial worker.  Calhoun introduced her.

This is Silica Dhee, one of the guilds Syphonite security agents that was visiting the site just as the attacks began, she chose to remain here and defend the station rather than leave us short manned for which I am very grateful, she has been investigating the attacks during our quieter moments and was outside holding them off when you arrived.”

Silica gratefully accepted OT’s offer of first aid on her injured leg, though it was just a superficial lasburn he bound it up and smeared coolant on it. Silica directed the Venators further inside the building towards some sort of control room/common room at the back, there she sat whilst OT sorted her leg and explained what she’d found so far. (in the meantime Hans had talked to Zhuko in the stubber bunker and found some tools for himself and Grimm, Calhoun was working on a different cogitator on the other side of the room)

‘These attacks aren’t random,  the scavvies have been probing the defences, finding the stubbers blind spots and steadily draining ammunition, like they knew we were short on supplies. The big guy only shows up when it thinks there’s a weakness, we were damn lucky to drive him back last time and that was with a stubber holding off his friends.’

The Venators asked if they’d seen the big mutant recently  and Silica produced a pictscan of the security scanners from the front door.

- - -/The grainy image shows the front of the pumping station door, occasional las bolts and hard rounds hit the reinforced steel but don’t really damage it. The sound of a heavy stubber can be heard in the background as well as smaller weapons. The screen is briefly blotted out as a huge figure, 10-12 foot tall at least charges the door. Covered in thick scales and wielding a massive axe, some sort of cannon is strapped to its back.  The beast turns as it slams into the door and you see a broad, froglike face with massive exposed teeth in profile.  The sheer weight of its assault buckles the outside door allowing the mutant enough purchase at the top to grab the sheet with webbed claws and tear it away, leaving the piston mechanism exposed. One swipe of the great axe is enough to sheer the piston heads away from their mounting and scar the inner wall, piston parts spinning through the air. Wedging the axe in the gap between the doors the Mutant applies pressure and slowly begins to inch the door open only to be met by a flurry of lasfire, a few impacting directly into its face causing it to stagger back. It turns and flees and the pictcast ends/ - - -

Silica winces as she sees the repeat, and continues:  

‘Lucky shots really, if we hadn’t hit it in the eyes it would have been in by now and we’d be lunch. Since then they’ve just been wearing us down- I was repairing the motion sensor on the gantries when the stubber ran dry, and I saw one of them scurry off, probably to fetch the rest of the scummy bastards. I’ve been trying to pinpoint their location when I’ve had the time, the technicians here have a system of sensors across the waterways to let them know when there are blockages, floods, hive quakes etc. and I’ve been using it to spot peculiarities. Take a look for yourselves as you may see something I’ve missed’

Silica brought up a map on the largest cogitator screen showing her findings so far, and after a bit of discussion OT and Ava managed to pinpoint a few areas with more than usual suspicious activity around a large culvert to the wasteward side of the station. The culvert runs under the Aquifer road and around it there are three large water tanks, two full and one dry overflow, as well as a series of smaller cisterns and pipeworks arranged around them. The dry tank has a large level of seismic activity which doesn’t match any hive quakes and lasted too long to be a collapse which could indicate some sort of camp, especially as several pipes around it have been collapsed and blocked too. There were four more areas of major activity, 3 which would suggest constructions of some kind, and another around the southernmost wet tank, where the thinner external pipes were regularly getting temporarily blocked by something heavy. Ava also notices that the water in these pipes is close to the end of the re-cyc process, and whilst not pleasant would be easy to swim through, especially for scavvy and mutants used to the more hazardous areas of the hive. Silica copies the info onto a discarded dataslate and hands it to OT.

Ava and OT spent some time discussing how to reach this area with Silica before she headed off to finish repairing the motion sensor above. They can drop down either by the entrance to the pipeworks directly beneath the pumping station or by a smaller entrance ten minute walk to the wasteward, coming out closer to the target area. They decide to wait until the full crew is there to make a decision. Outside Hans has repaired the faulty machine spirit and Grimm has replaced the damaged cables to get the second stubber running again.  Whilst working the two venators gained a bit more of an appreciation for each others skills, and Hans had an idea- why not reinforce the front of the stubbers with a shield to stop the scavvies repeating the cable trick and taking the weapons out again. Grimm agrees in principle and begins tearing metal sheets and useful parts off the crates by the door, and they eventually fashion two relatively sturdy gun shields for the turrets. Hans also takes the time to reprogram the machine spirits to see Venators as friendlies. (they also surprise Zhuko who appeared to have been sleeping in the second stubber bunker)

Once the stubbers are repaired and Silica fixes the motion sensor the Venators all gather round the cogitator and are filled in by Ava and OT- they bounce a few more ideas around and Elsu applied his hunting experience to the map. Deciding the pipes around the supposed settlement are too small for the beast they saw on camera, and judging by its webbed appendages and appearance the beast may be amphibian, he thinks the two regularly blocked southern pipes may be being used as transit ways by the beast, indicating it travels underwater and possibly resides in the southern wet tank. They talk about the need to block any exit to trap the scavvies in the area and eventually Hans come up with the idea of using the water itself as a barrier. They approach Calhoun with the idea and he runs the numbers: by draining the water from the southern section they can both deny the creature any aquatic advantage it has but also use the excess water to flood the outer tunnels with fast moving currents to block escape. A side effect of this would be denying a Delaque agri-dome several levels above water for a few cycles, but as this means the guild could then charge the inhabitants more for a temporary water supply he eagerly agrees.  

For the plan to work the venators needed to disable two fail safes down in the sewers themselves- the systems are designed to stop exactly the sort of chaos Calhoun is about to cause. He inserts override protocols into OT’s datapad and shows on a map where to find the two failsafe mechanisms are. He also provides Hans with a ‘wetcomm’ a hardy device used by water guild workers to communicate in the pipes- it can be inserted into commslots found scattered throughout the pipes and used to call him. Ava and OT go on a bit of a looting spree and find two working luminators in the unused lockers, and they bribe Zhuko with a bottle of second best for a couple of packs of glo-sticks. Hans has a third laminator on his helmet so between those and the internal pipeworks lighting in larger tunnels they are fairly well covered for light. Zhuko pops the hatch inside the station and they descend into the tunnels.

The Venators trek through the dimly lit and foul smelling pipes is at first relatively uneventful, Duchess tracks ahead (note- Cyber mastiffs are excellent climbers due to extendable claws that can latch on to ladders, this has surprised many of Old Timers enemies in the past and explains how it got down such a massive ladder). In one darker than usual set of pipes Ava slipped and almost fell straight down a pitch-black sluice pipe if Hans didn’t notice and grab hold of her arm. Pulling her clear he warns her to watch her step and they all continue. At the first failsafe they find a large warning on the wall telling them not to do exactly what they are about to do so OT plugged in the dataslate. The Orlock either didn’t say the right prayers or plugged it into a power socket, regardless he receives a nasty shock, injuring his arm.  Hans relieves him of the device and  successfully runs the shutdown override, switching the failsafe off.

The party continues on wasteward, the Ratskins innate sense of direction enabling him to stay on course in the twisting mess of pipes, tunnels and sewer drains beneath the hive floor. Eventually they begin to hear the loud echoing of falling water in the distance and assume they are newring the large culvert, as well as the second failsafe. Elsu heard something he doesn’t like round the corner and halting the party sneaked ahead. Peering round the corner he sees a massive sumpcroc wrestling with what look like human remains directly outside the failsafe room. He headed back to the group and briefly discussed the situation-  Elsu knows shock weapons are invaluable at controlling these beasts and gets Hans involved, and Grimm offers his Spud Jacker as an alternative as he’s seen plenty of Sumpcrocs get smashed in the pit back home. 

Moving quietly up the Ratskin manages to keep even the hefty Goliath silent and they prepared their weapons round the last corner before charging in. Hans first stun baton blow sent sparks crackling across the beasts scales and seems to stun it, though it doesn’t do any real damage he can see. Grimms Spudjacker however smashed into the monsters foreleg, crushing bone and almost tearing it off, the beasts pain spasms reveal it’s less armoured belly and Hans wastes no time repeatedly jabbing the stun baton into its abdomen, further stunning it and opening up several burnt gashes across it. The stunned creature slowly stops moving and Grimm finishes it off with his Forge hammer. The two venators dragged the carcass off to one side and leave it on the sewer path for later as they think it would make a good trophy for Jugger. Once in the Failsafe room Hans once again ignores the warnings and runs the override causing it to fail.

The target area is just ahead now so the party silently moves up to approach. At the last turning they find a commslot and Hans lets Calhoun know to start the mechanism. Soon a vast rumbling akin to a hive quake begins to shake the pipes around them and they notice that the water level is rapidly decreasing by their side, the grinding of massive unseen gears and rush of water in the distance drowns out any further noise and the group advance into the culvert with Elsu diverting silently down a side passage.

---End of session 2---

map of the scavvies camp

The larger group slowly stealth their way up to the corner of the pipe they are moving down using the roaring of water and crashing gears as cover, Duchess slips and her cybernetic leg grates the grill beneath but the luckily sound is lost amongst the background noise. Elsu took the opportunity of the side pipe to advance towards the cavernous culvert ahead and after a few paces heard guttural voices shouting to each other in confusion- advancing further he can see in the guttering light of promethium lanterns high in the roof a large cavern full of pipes and gantries rising high into the darkness above. One of the sources of the shouting is revealed as a mutant with one eye and a battered looking lasgun at the northern edge of a massive pit which looks to have been filled with water until very recently.
The others crest the corner and spot a second mutant in a ramshackle watchtower on the pits southern edge.  Hans takes aim and prepares to take him down as around the corner Elsu does the same. Elsu shoots first, the flash of his long rifle illuminating the dark tunnel and his round punching through his targets leg, shattering bone and dropping him to the floor in agony. Hans lasround punched into the sentry in the watch tower and send him flying to the ground in a crumpled unmoving heap.

As soon as the shots ring out Ava, Grimm and OT rush the main room just in time to see a large shadow exiting the culvert via the opposite pipe, they take the opportunity to finish off Elsu’s victim though only after a fusillade of fire does the mutant finally succumb. Elsu spots another guard tower in the next chamber and gets a momentary glimpse of a third scavvy sticking its misshapen head around a corner ahead of the main group. Covered by Grimm’s shotgun Hans and Elsu advance towards a rubble barricade between the culverts exchanging fire with the tower whilst Ava moved clockwise around the first pit to join up with Elsu who was taking shots at the tower too. Before the team at the rubble can get fully organised the scavvy spotted by the Ratskin scout leaps into view and with a sickening crunch smashes duchess into the nearby wall. Grimm retaliates with his own charge, pulping the mutant’s skull and hurling the body back into the sewer before ducking back behind the wall.

Behind the main group a barrage of autopistol shots ring out, the shells scattering around Ava and Elsu as another Scavvy arrives from the tunnel opposite. Ava returns fire as does Elsu, and between them they wound the mutant and send him flying off the gantry into the filth below as his pistol clicks dry. The two venators have no time to recover though as the flashes of their shot reveal two more mutants attempting to sneak up on the party at the barricade. Grimm meanwhile sizes up the construction of the watchtower ahead and sees a few shoddy joins that would fall if the right pressure was applied, then moves up and applies aforementioned pressure with a round of well-placed salvo shells.

With an ominous creak the whole flakboard and pig iron construction begins to tilt as its legs bend under its own weight. The two scavvies on the tower slip and fall- one of them crunching into the hard plascrete and the other managing to dive into the sewage behind at the last moment. Hans pumps laser fire into the injured guard to finish him off though only succeeds in wounding him further. OT takes the lull in return fire as an opportunity to dash over to Duchess and manages to get her back on her feet, though her mechanisms may need some repair work after the job is done.

Ava and Elsu’s warning shouts give Hans a chance to turn and find one of the ambushing mutants charging down on him, dropping his suppression laser he snatches his stun baton from its sheath just in time to parry one of the mutant’s crab-like claws, the other clamping down on his arm though the mesh armour proves worth the investment as the chitinous claw fails to penetrate. Hans draws his laspistol and the two fighters begin a prolonged duel of claw and stave, with Hans shock baton slowly beginning to wear down the mutant by burning and shredding its scales then hammering laspistol shots into the weak spots.

The second ambusher braced himself on one of the shanty bridges and started shooting at Ava as the scavvy that had been knocked into the pipe slithered down into the pit itself and took aim, forgetting that it’s autopistol had long since run out of ammo.  The same misfortune befell its companion on the bridge after only a single shot which struck Ava but fails to hurt the stoic Escher. Propelling herself forward Ava charged toward the scav, only for Elsu to thump another long rifle shot into it causing it too to fall into the disgusting mire below. The shootout between the four continued until the mutant in the pit is finally driven from its twisted feet and the one in the tunnel is forced back into hiding.

The shootout was making enough noise to drown out the machinery now and reinforcements started to arrive for the Scavvies, two more gunners rushing out from a side tunnel and the swimmer reaching shore to regain his now unconscious companions autogun. Grimm gets the worst surprise though as he can see a vague shape in the sewers ahead, a massive creature moving swiftly through the sewage with long sweeping strokes. Warning the rest of the group that their quarry was escaping he poured a full salvo into the shadows, causing the creature to screech in pain and turn beady eyes on him ‘Come get some!’ the goliath yelled at the shadowy figure.

 The rest of the venators have little chance to offer backup however as they attempt to thin down the mutant’s numbers. Hans finally gets the better of his clawed opponent with a final laspistol shot lighting it’s insides up as it dropped to the ground. OT continued to shoot into the tunnel keeping the mutant hidden there pinned down and Elsu fired a long range shot through two chambers into one of the newly arrived scavvies. The long rifles powerful shell exploded the mutants head, killing it instantly and causing the two nearest scavvies to quickly bolt into the shadows.

(drawn before Grimm blew an arm off...)

The massive form in the sewer swam towards Grimm, an enormous rusted axe spearing from the shadows and piercing the plascrete by the Goliaths feet before a huge scaled arm reached from the water and used the embedded weapon to drag itself onto the ledge. A Scaly of legendary size the monstrosity had a wide teeth filled mouth, patched armour over thick scales and a cannon strapped to its back- most noticeable however was the tattered dregs of its right arm where Grimm’s salvo had torn it apart moments earlier. OT saw the beast is his peripheral vision and lacking a clear shot sent Duchess out to aid the Goliath. The two charged together, Grimm discarding his shotgun and drawing his autopistol and forge hammer to attack the beast up close and personal. A massive strike from the hammer on the creature’s leg bounced off the thick scales, but did cause them to crack enough for his autopistol rounds to find a soft spot, causing the creature to roar in pain once more. Duchess clamped it’s jaws round the remaining arm but was lifted off the ground when the beast swung its vicious axe back at Grimm, tearing a chunk of flesh from his abdomen that would have felled a normal human.

Whilst the two gargantuan figure exchanged blows in the main sewer another large lizard like figure crept out of the side tunnel and leapt upon Ava, only her lightning fast reactions and clever sword skills stopping its rusted weapons finding purchase in her flesh. Trading blows with this new threat Ava drove her stiletto blade into it several times before eventually finding a soft spot, flooding the beast with toxin and killing it within seconds. OT and Elsu poured fire into the last Savvy in the tunnel but whether due to his mutated biology or just plain luck he continued to crawl along, pathetically trying to reload his weapon.  

Freed from his conflict with the clawed scav Hans jumped the rubble and began to engage the Scaly at a safe distance using his Baton’s extended reach, doing no injuries but adding to the beast’s confusion. Duchess took advantage of this to land a telling bite to its softer abdomen as Grimm landed more punishing blows to the already wounded leg with his hammer and pistol. Enraged by its opponents the beast flailed wildly, leaving a ragged gash in Grimms leg. Hans continued to harass the creature, his baton sending shocks through the unarmoured areas and exploiting any weak spots left by the goliath’s hammer as it smashed scales and broke armour. With an agonised roar the creatures left leg collapsed under it leaving it open to Grimm and Duchesses renewed attacks, the cyber mastiff tearing away at the abdomen whilst Grimm hammered away at the Scalies remaining leg.

Ava was moving back toward Elsu when more splashing footsteps revealed another of the smaller lizard monsters approaching from the south bearing a wicked looking harpoon gun. Elsu pumped long rifle shells into it to drive it back as Ava drew her lasgun and joined in, but the beast’s thick scales absorbed most of the fire. The thwack of a released harpoon was all the warning Elsu got before the massive spike punctured straight through his leg. Extending a nasty barb from the hooks tip the lizard yanked it back, ripping the armour and cloth from the ratskin’s shin but leaving him miraculously unharmed- a fact he took full advantage of by planting another round solidly into its centre mass. Ava charged into the stunned creature, flipping from the catwalk into the mire then continuing her cartwheel over the beast and driving her chainsword deep into its shoulder. As she landed behind it with a graceful turn she plunged her stiletto blade into the creature’s spine, killing it instantly.

Back in the main sewer the conflict was beginning to tell on both the Scaly and Grimm, his legs battered and bruised and bleeding from his gut he switched to a two handed grip on his hammer and drove his opponent to the ground with a massive overhand strike that shattered it’s remaining kneecap in an explosion of bone and ichor. The badly wounded Monster was not done yet though, swinging it’s arm it flung Duchess into the sewage beyond, and as it fell it bit another chunk from Grimm’s leg, leaving him close to passing out. Hans continued to stab his baton into the fallen creature as did OT who had retrieved a battered axe from a fallen foe. Grimm’s hammer crushed into the froglike skull causing brain matter to leak out before Hans reminded him they needed the skull to sell. Thrusting his stun baton into the exposed crack the Van Saar switched it to full shock and the smell of frying brain matter marked the final death of the hideous foe.

As the fighting drew to a halt 808 hovered from the initial entry point and presented a report to Elsu that it found no other bio-scans in the immediate area. The servo skull then proceeded to move from corpse to corpse, collecting bio data to verify the kills for the guild. Grimm’s injuries finally got past his massive frame and he slumped to a crouch, using his hammer as a crutch he stared down at the beast that almost finished him. OT knelt down in the gore next to him with his medikit and patched up his legs, though they would need more than his field medicine to fully recover. With chainsword and looted blade the Venators began removing skulls from those mutants they thought would be worth money back in Hollow Run, claiming those of the Scaly and his two smaller brethren, a horned mutant and a cyclops. The vast majority of the scavvy weapons were shoddy and prone to break, but they bagged the guns up to trade with later. OT declared Grimm as fit as he could make him given the conditions and the group prepared to move deeper into the scavvy camp.

--- End of session 3. --- 

The venators spread out across the sewer system and started checking out the areas they haven’t explored yet, Hans, Elsu and Ava climbed up the narrow access pipes to the suspected camp whilst OT and Duchess scoped out the watchtowers with Grimm covering them. In the camp the three Venators found four cabins roughly constructed from scrap metal- gangways, vehicle parts, blast doors, all welded together to make crude shelters around the outside walls of the large round silo, which looks to have been dry for years. The chamber roof extends into the shadows above, too high for the light of the guttering promethium lamps to reach. Hans took the opportunity to contact the Pumping station using the wetcomm and let them know the state of affairs, also checking to see if they could flood this chamber to remove the camp after. Whilst Hans was talking Elsu and Ava checked out the closest two shacks, Finding them both full of sleeping mats and discarded food wrappers. Ava did manage to find a few creds scattered in her hut, along with two sealed munitorum protein packs.

Elsu found a large barbed spear, probably from a Sump sea Harpoon cannon, but it’s sheer size made him discard the idea of looting it and he left it in place, instead settling for a few creds scattered around the sleeping cots. The discharge of Hans Suppression laser outside drew both Elsu and Ava back into the open, but they found that when Hans had searched the last small hut one of the Scavvies that had fled the skirmish attacked him with a knife. Luckily Hans’ training had kicked in and he quickly dispatched the attacker with two bursts, one to drop him and a second to coup de gras. Inside he also finds a scattering of credits and a set of finely carved bone dice.

The three then turned their attention to the large hut at the rear of the chamber, this was made of sturdier materials than the first 3 and entry was via a large sliding omnitransit door on one side. Entering in an ad-hoc breaching order they found three large tubs made of the bottom sections of water silos, each tub was half full of damp, brackish water and piled stones. Around them the tent was piled with bones and skulls, rusted weapons hung from the walls and were scattered around the base of the tanks.

Outside the camp OT had reached the far watchtower and sensing something off from Duchess Growls he drew his weapon and cautiously climbed the ladder. Inside the Orlock found the last of the fleeing scavvies, though he had been sliced up quite badly by some kind of melee weapon and had died of his wounds. Searching the body he found some creds and a Vial of a green solution, a quick sniff revealed this to be a dose of Kalma that he quickly stuffed into his medpack before resuming his patrol.

Steeling themselves Hans and Elsu had begun rummaging amongst the detritus in the large hut. Although the majority of the weaponry was rusted or decayed beyond use after a good search Hans found two Las-powercells that could still hold a charge and a semi-functional las-projector he believes he can repair. Elsu scavenged through the bone pile and found a grossly large scorpion claw that could fetch a decent price with Jugger back in town and some edible mushrooms in the pools. Hung on the back wall was a makeshift melta charge that Hans took for Grimm, reasoning the goliath’s demolition skills would make best use of it.

OT continued his patrol with Duchess running point, and when the cyber-mastiff came running back from the shadows barking he shouted for Grimm to come back him up. Bounding round the corner was another smaller Scaly, this one armed with twin vicious punch daggers. OT managed to wound the creature as it charged him, and ducking most of its blows he parried the one strike with his armour before Grimm’s countercharge slammed into the beast, shattering bones in a flurry of hammer strikes and allowing Duchess to finish the job, tearing out the throat of the beast where OT’s stub rounds had left it wounded. They add the beasts misshapen skull to the sack on Grimms back and move back to their positions. Soon enough OT and Duchess have scoured the remaining area sealed off by the Overseers floods and return to Grimm to assure him the area is clear.

They regroup by the second pool and share what they have found, then proceed to where they entered the area and call back to the Pumping station. Silica answers and after some fumbling and complaints about the noise the temporary redirection has caused she resets the flow warning the venators to hold on to something.

The bore of the water returning to the pipe comes rushing down towards the venators who have grabbed onto pipes, rungs and anything else they could get their hands on, but Ava was too slow to holster her twin blades and it caught by the tide, flushing her backwards. Ramming both blades into the gangway beneath her she manages to slow herself enough to let go of the anchored chainsword and grab Grimm’s belthook.  They ride out the wave and the pipes flow eventually recedes to normal levels, luckily for Ava her chainsword was well wedged in the grate and survived intact, though a little damp.  

Elsu’s unparalleled sense of direction kicked in quickly and the return journey was uneventful, they soon reached the off-pipe where they stashed the sumpcroc and after a brief discussion about heads Grimm decides to take the whole thing (food, boots and bounty, what’s not to love?) so he and OT take hold and start dragging which slows them down as the rest head back ahead of them. As they are dragging the mutated monster away they notice it has an old collar and the name ‘Snapplejack’, along with a goliath gang symbol neither of them recognises stamped on it.

Back at the station Hans signals for the door to open and Silica responds, the three venators of the first group ascend the ladder and find the control room much as they left it, with Silica manning the rear cogitator. She makes a few jokes about their appearance and smell before indicating where the sonic showers could be found and offering them stimmcaff as they wait for the others. They accept and sit, looking through the skulls with silica who comments on the smaller lizard creatures, referring to them as ‘juvenile Scalies’. Even she was impressed by the larger beast as though she is responsible for sewer security in this part of the Hive she rarely descends into the pipes herself these days.

When the others catch up Grimm is helped retrieve the Sumpcroc with a crane hoist Silica descends from the control room ceiling.  The Goliath and OT hook the beast up giving the injured duchess a chance to climb the ladder. Once hoisted up to the main floor the two clamber up and shut the blast doors beneath them. Silica is once again impressed and this time gives the venators a ‘standard’ 10 cred sumpcroc bounty which is split between Grimm and Hans after a brief discussion about who landed the killing blow.

Overseer Calhoun and Zhuko arrived and thanked the team for their efforts. Calhoun commenting on both Grimm’s injuries and the damaged Mastiff. Hans used the better light and safe environment to get Duchess up on a table, he gave her a once over and said he can probably repair most of the damage with some replacement parts and the right tools- Zhuko says he can keep the set he borrowed earlier before taking them all to the sonic showers. Calhoun displays a surprising grasp of local customs by instead offering Elsu a bath in running water in an offspill out the rear of the station. What the water guild consider offspill to be recycled is substantially clearer than any water an underhiver will see in their lifetime, and Elsu enjoys a very luxurious bath, taking the opportunity to wash his clothes and dry them on the hot pipes round the rooms edge.

Back in a much better smelling control room Calhoun calls a servitor which loads the sumpcroc corpse onto the Venators borrowe rig. (Zhuko has refuelled it and made a few minor repairs while the Venators were in the sewers). They say their goodbyes and mount up, OT, Elsu and Hans in the cabin leaving Ava and Grimm on the rollcage with the dead croc. The drive back along the wall to the Hollows is relatively peaceful, a few token sniper shots and poor attempts at ambushes easily ignored or dealt with. They crest the final ridge to see a Hollows much busier than the one they left, a large Convoy of vehicles marked with the Promethium guilds insignia parked just beyond the gates. Approaching the parked vehicles they drop their own promethium rig off in the same car park which surprises some House Orlock watch-guards playing cards atop the tallest of the trucks.  

After a short conversation in which the Orlocks are suitably impressed by both the Croc and the Scaly head, the group found out the convoys leader Pyrocaen Lord ‘Incus Habitule’ and his retinue can be found in the Guildhall conversing with the Ironfound, so they head there to inquire about a possible reward for recovering the truck rig. They take the control unit for their rig with them just in case.
At the mag lift to the guildhall they are at first challenged by a pair of twitchy on-cycle Venators. Once they recognise Ava and their oathmarks they relaxed and had a chat about the bounty they had been on. Referencing the fact upstairs had been ‘cleaned’ the two guards suggest depositing the heads and Croc in the guild storage vault at the base of the lift rather than despoiling the Ironfounds carpets. Whilst stashing the goods inside a few base jokes by OT convinced the venators to pose the enormous sumpcroc at the doorway in an attacking pose to hopefully scare the next guards on watch when they open the door.

On ascending to the Guildhall they were greeted at the front desk in a surprisingly clean room. A dishevelled lectern raised over the Maglift port by gothic arches, scrolls and seals are glued haphazardly over the front and top surface and two smaller lecterns with motionless servitors flank it. atop this spire is Sinneas who was writing on a long scroll with the aid of a Servoskull, he looked up as they enter.

‘Ah, Epsilon! That was faster than expected!  How did you find our watery associates? I see from your appearance and unique aroma that you have been playing in puddles for them. Can I also assume that you have completed the bounty successfully?’

He beckoned 8-ob who floated over to the lectern and extended a data-probe into a socket, it briefly flashes its eye from green to orange. Sinneas then let his own skull carry away his scroll as he looks on a data screen beneath it, nodding and making occasional tuts.

‘This looks like an efficient completion hunters, congratulations. It seems our faith in you was not misplaced. I will requisition the reward now, that’s a total of 420 credits split between you. The Nutrient vats have just been replenished if you are hungry, we have some functioning sonic showers down the hall and your bunks are where you left them. The creds will be ready in half an hour so make use of the facilities until then.’ 

The Venators asked about the Pyrocaen Lord and Sinneas (after huffing and puffing about having to use the seat he hates and clean the place up for some damned fireboys) went in to the conference room. After a short time one of the Pyromagir exits, he is one of the Pyrocaen lords retinue, and he grudgingly listens to their report before taking the control unit from them and attaching it to one of his own mechadendrites.

‘Regretful. The rig you found was part of our forward party for this very convoy, detailed to carry fuel to our next rest stop in order to refuel our vehicles. Without it we must recalculate our itinerary for our passage to the sludge sea hives. Where did this attack occur? We would prefer to commit our fallen brothers to the purifying flame if possible.’

After a few of the players check the map on the wall Elsu gestures vaguely in the direction of the attack site.

‘Thank you. I will communicate your assistance to Lord Habitule. I’m certain there will be some form of reward.’

With this the Pyromagir turned and re-entered the conference room as Sinneas leaves it. He reluctantly regains his precarious perch and lets the players know he’ll contact them when their pay is ready, and that there are no Long watch bounties on the board yet, but he was expecting notices in the morning.

‘The board’ is a large wooden plank wall across the main room from the Mag-lev, all local notices and bounties are posted on it and there are three separate section for oncycle, offcycle and long watch notices.

Descending to the streets to wait for their payment Hans suggests a drink so Ava takes them downtown through the Hollows to the ‘High Gear’, her favourite bar and one of the better drinking holes in the town. On the way they notice many travellers in the red robes of the promethium guild and even more Orlocks, as well as a large group of inebriated Goliaths who hurl some good natured abuse at the Venators as they passed.

At the high gear they are greeted by ‘Nod’ a hulking ogryn who’s left arm had been replaced by a short barrelled heavy stubber. Ava asks if anyone of note is in and the brute shakes his head before checking them for plasma and allowing them to pass with a nod. Several sets of stairs and some short ladders lead up to the bar which is situated high above a sump pit. There are drudgers and gangers drinking in various places, the balcony, the girders beneath and even the roof. Inside the owner Trask acknowledges Ava and gestures them to the only empty table in the corner. Hard Imperial cult metal is blasting out of the speakers and OT recognises it as the Cawdor thrash faith band ‘OrdoMettul’ which is one of his favourites. The Venators sit back around the table, order a round of Bloodwiesers and finally relax for a few precious moments.

--- End of session 4 ---

The high gear visited by a local Cawdor gang. 

The Venators decided to stay in the High Gear and enjoy the beers. They start watching the other patrons, notably a large group of sullen eschers in one corner, some drunken Orlocks from the convoy and a couple of obvious regulars scattered around. After a while one of the Escher approaches Ava and asks about an illegal casino in the area, they use live juves as bait and one of their gang (the Howling bitches) has been taken. The Venators have no clue but they say they'll keep an eye out.The ganger throws a few barbs at Grimm but he laughs it off.

Inevitably The Orlocks get more drunk than they should and say something to the Escher that sparks a brawl. Rather than getting involved or leaving the group move back to a further table and spectate, with Grimm and the Barmaid placing bets on the winners. The fight is going toward the Eschers as they have numbers on their side but one of the Orlocks break the bars rules and pull firearms. Before Trask can draw the suppression laser behind the bar The same Escher champion that talked to Ava draws her shotgun and scatter shells the brawl, Orlock and Escher alike, then drives the drunken Orlocks from the bar accompanied by jeers from the gangers outside. Trask nods to the champion and the Eschers resume their seats but actually just a bit cheerier. Grimm wins the bet and the barmaid flirts a little as she leaves the money. They drink a few more rounds, some more expensive drinks and some just beers whilst chatting to the staff and learning about Nod downstairs.

After a while the bar fills back up with patrons, one of which is an unusual looking guilder in garish clothes carrying what Grimm recognises as a high end Web Pistol. He orders a bottle of expensive wine and pays using a large denomination Ulanti house coin he gained from a recent sale by the roadside just outside town. Ava asks Trask about the guilders identity and she tells them he is Samwuell Adrophis of the guild of Coin, a wandering merchant with a walking vehicle that he uses as a store. After her shift ends the barmaid goes to sit with him and drinks some of the wine.

Eventually The venators move out to get some sleep. They pass Nod petting Duchess as they leave then they stumble down the road (Ava more stumbling than others). whilst walking they notice the gambling holes are mostly empty despite the bars being full which Ava mentions is a bit odd. After a few stumbles (and Grimm carrying Ava) they stride down the main street, OT stopping at a butchers to grab some meat for Duchess. When they reach the Maglev the Offcycle Venators give them grief about their 'Trick' in the holding shed, then 'accidentally' stop the lift halfway up. Grimm solves this issue by urinating incredibly accurately on one of the guards below which restarts the lift quickly.  The Venators pass through a quiet hub and hit the bunks after grabbing some protein gunk from the vending machines and setting their las-packs to charge. The night warder also directs them towards the 'bargain bucket' a bin full of various rounds and shells and they find enough ammunition to stock up most weaponry.

The next morning they regrouped during breakfast and decided to head out and get rid of the loot from the sewer. After another jovial encounter with the offcycle watch who are just ending their shift they walk to Jugger's longarms first with the skulls, claw and entire sumpcroc. Jugger is pleased to see them and is very excited by the croc especially, and he and Elsu have some obviously long running discussion about Juggers custom long las. He offers them a decent sum of credits for the lot, more with an entertaining story (which they provide). After the transaction Grimm asks if he can have the Croc scales made into armour, and Jugger says he can't but knows someone who can and pops out the back to his vox. The Venators wander round the store during which a very nice sniper rifle catches Elsu's eye. When Jugger comes back in he says that his leatherworker friend can make it into layered underarmour, it'll take about a week but only cost 25 creds if she can keep the spare leather, bones etc. Grimm agrees and Jugger hauls the croc out the back for skinning, but not before each of the venators take a croc claw each (Jugger drills them and puts them on a bit of thonging for free). Elsu engage in a bit of barter, and eventually agrees to part exchange his long rifle for the custom sniper on the wall, Jugger asks him to name it and let him know so he can keep a record of it on the wall. (Elsu later names it Noctis Corvum). Others pick up some additional firepower and sell the looted weaponry Jugger thinks he can resell, but when they ask about pistols and melee weaponry Jugger directs them to other traders in the Hollows.

OT during this time took a wander down to the fighting arena, which was referred to as 'The Triumph' but has since been resprayed with 'Grox's Stabfest' as it's new name. The Goliath guards sent him round the back entrance to the 'stables'. In the stables OT sees a non-goliath drudger shouting out orders in a maelstrom of Brute handlers and beasts in various pens. The administrator is one of the few staff that survived the hostile takeover and he directs OT toward The head Beast trainer, a hulking dark skinned Goliath female who easily lifts Duchess onto a slab for a 'Checkup'. She says she can fix up the damage in a couple of hours and gives OT a quote which he agrees to, telling Duchess to stay while he goes back to the front of the auditorium where he noticed Burke and Rigges Mining supplies sold armour, though the only armour the two ex-pit slaves can find that fits is an armoured undersuit as their main customers tend toward Goliath proportions. OT then joins the others picking up supplies, meeting them at Juggers where he picks up a boltgun.

Ava wants to spend some of her now impressive credit stash on a power weapon, so takes the others uphive to Tellers Elite showrooms, high above the streets. This very well kept showroom has an array of specialist and expensive goods which a few venators pick up, Ava finding the power weapon she wanted. After failing to find a plasma pistol for Hans Teller says they should try Samwuell, the wandering guilder they encountered last night. Samwuell's walker is now parked in the main street with a neon sign over an open ramp announcing it to be 'Samwuells luxury goods'. Inside Sam is chatting to customers in a jovial and engaging way amongst hanging weapons and insane archeotech across the walls and roof. He notices the Venators and waves before guiding them through the walker, to a plasma pistol. He only has one in stock and this is a heavily modified display piece that Hans has to pay over the odds for.

Having stocked up on hardware and now significantly less financially well off than they were earlier, the Venators take a hike back toward the Guild hall to find their next bounty. They pass Groxs stabfest and OT picks up a fully repaired Duchess who now boasts some hardened ceramite teeth where her jaw was injured in the sewer fight. 

--- end of session 5 ---

Back in the Guild house it’s pretty packed as the Venators of all watches are grabbing sustenance at midday. The noticeboards have small huddles of eating watchmen in front of them to one side, and The Bursar is once again perched on his precarious lectern. Beside the noticeboards Big Mack has set up a trestle and is giving the guilds heavy weapons a once over, as well as fixing any scrapes and dents in the weapons of Venators based there.

On the Long Watch board there are only 4 decent bounties in place that Epsilon have to choose from, being the only Long Watch squad currently not already on a bounty. One is to seek out and eliminate a group of Ratskin Renegades from the spirit shadow tribe, which jogs Elsu’s memory that he has a spirit pole from that tribe in his pack and that they have possibly already killed a few of the renegades. The second is tracking down a Delaque datafarmers family member who stole their equipment and may be engaged in Ghast smuggling for a decent pay off, especially if the equipment can be recovered. The third is hunting down three escaped pit slaves with a moderate bounty sweetened by extra credit in Grox’s stabfest if they can be brought back alive. Finally one of the noble scion’s of house Ulanti has gone missing near the aquifer gate after a hunting trip in the wastes, it could be foul play it could also just be him wandering off as he is a known wastrel.

The discussions within the group start with the simplicity of the ratksin job, clean kills always being easier to deal with than live bounties. After reading through them a little Ava notices that the Ratskin raids have been taking place relatively near the aquifer gate where the noble disappeared, and perhaps they could grab both bounties at once with a bit of extra graft? The idea piques the interest of the group, especially Hans and Elsu who then suggest that if they are going in for two they may as well take a crack at all four. OT scans the bounties on the board with the datapad purloined from the water guild pumping station and they start checking the details. Elsu wonders if they can get another servo skull from the guild to keep tabs on them as it would make managing the four different streams of data easier.

Approaching the Bursar on his perch Hans asks about this, and when the Bursar hears they are going after all four he is impressed by their audacity. Checking the information on the bounty he sees the Delaque family have placed enough of an equipment deposit to justify a skull and says he will happily requisition one for them if they don’t mind waiting a few minutes. The pistons on the bursars chair whistle and his as they rather jaggedly lower him down to ground level, where he unleashes a spray of vitriol about how much he hates that chair, to which Hans sympathises whilst the grumpy official shuffles his robes back to a more dignified position. Retrieving ‘Bob’ from a nearby locker he lets them know it’ll take 10 minutes to get the data uploaded from the nearby servitor’s lectern (“no point going up the chair for a 10 minute job”) and suggests they chat to Big Mack and offload the heavy weapons they picked up in the sewer in the meantime.

Big Mack is definitely interested in the Harpoon gun as she is currently out of stock, and with all the Orlocks in town she knows she can turn it over quickly. They agree to 50 creds which is shared amongst Epsilon. The Scaly’s oversized blunderbuss is a different matter, with Mack stating she has never seen anything like it before. When she pulls out the ammunition plug a pile of knucklebones and splintered shards scattered across the table with a distinct smell. Unsure if she can sell it she offers a small sum of creds or half the selling price at a later date. Grimm suggests polishing it up and selling it to Samwuell as a unique curiosity which Mack thinks could be a good plan.

With Bob retrieved and all data loaded up for the tasks ahead the group decide to see if they can pick up some communication equipment in the General’s store, lack of comms being a hassle in their last outing. The 5 Venators stump up some creds between them to pick up a small scale Commpack with 5 microbeads at the store, as well as a couple of respirators. Elsu also buys a survival pack and some cheap long rifle rounds with a surprisingly successful haggle. After picking up the rounds Elsu also notices two Ratskins enter the store and approach the hunting section (where the knives and food are kept, obviously). He can’t quite get a close look on the hair plaits that show tribe and name, but with a bit of shuffling from him and OT they get close enough to check against the datapad, noting that whilst these braves are from the spirit shadow tribe they are not on the wanted list.

Approaching the pair Elsu introduces himself and engages them in conversation about the renegades, who the two have a very low opinion of. They do give some useful information on their preferred hunting style, as well as the capabilities of the Renegade Shaman. Elsu thanks them and drawing the spirit pole from his pack he asks them to return it to the tribe. They recognise it as belonging to a lesser Shaman apprentice and say the tribe will be very grateful to have it back, inviting Elsu to visit their trading grounds at some point in the future. They also hand Elsu some ‘Blessed’ ammunition for autoweaponry as a thank you.

Faced with a choice of travelling in the open, through the roadside ruins or through the interior of the wall itself, the group ask Elsu what he thinks, he remembers a fairly straight maintenance corridor that runs almost to the site of the ambush where they recovered the spirit staff.  The corridor it small enough to reduce the squad to single file so Elsu leads, with Ava and OT behind him, Hans after that and Grimm bringing up the rear, his vast bulk barely capable of fitting.

After almost two hours of travelling relatively uneventfully (barring a patch of rusted gantry that Elsu managed to spot before it collapsed under his weight) the passage opened up into a larger open storage area full of mouldy scraps of cloth and aged crates. Upon entering the space both Elsu and OT stopped as they caught scent of something inhuman in the area. Scanning around Elsu started to peer through his Heatsight on his scope, he had just spotted an unusual heat signature on one of the pieces of cloth when Duchess (ordered forward by OT) was attacked by another ‘cloth’, propelling itself towards the cyber hounds face with a twitch of its muscular membrane.  Duchess avoided getting hit in the face through sheer luck, though the beast clamped to its shoulder, wrapping around the hound.

Recognising the threat as a nest of Catachan Face Eaters Elsu’s reactions kicked in and he blasted the one ahead of his sights with his rifle, flipping it through the air and tearing a hole in part of its membranous exterior. Ava drew her Stiletto sword and charged the beast attached to Duchess, neatly slicing along it with the poisoned blade and freeing the mastiff who then chewed down on its former attacker. OT opened up with his boltgun on a third creature, and though the shell tore through it the soft tissue was not enough to set off the autoreactive shell which detonated on the wall behind, only slightly harming the intended target.  Squeezing past OT in the entryway Hans unleashed a wide beam from his Suppression laser at the same enemy, the multiple lances of light perforating its mass in several places but failing to kill it. Grimm entered by the simple method of picking up OT and physically lifting him out of the way, then used his autogun to batter another creature into a concertina of flesh rolled up against a crate. With the initial gunfire seeming to dim The three remaining Face eaters sprung towards the venators, the first being deflected from OT’s face to his shoulder where it clamped round his torso, the second bouncing off Hans hurriedly lowered ballistic mask and the final one being deflected by a stiletto strike into Ava’s off arm rather than her face.

Hans shrugged his attacker off and pressing his laser to its prone form literally shredded the creature with a wide beam, spraying a confetti of flesh and muscle tissue across the floor. The two clamped Venators vainly continued to attempt to penetrate their armour, and whilst OT struggled the encumbrance of his trapped arm meant he could not escape the beasts grasp. With the hissing of acid in her ears Ava dropped her stiletto blade and drew her power knife, using it to deftly prise the faceater on her shoulder away she threw it to the ground, though it nimbly dodged her following knife strike. Grimm strode forward and tore OT’s opponent away from him, smashing it to paste with his power hammer as Elsu’s second shot rang out, burning through the centre mass of the wounded Face Eater and killing it instantly. With a deafening roar in the confined space Ava’s chainsword sprang into life, chewing through her opponent with ease as the enemy at the back of the room slowly bled out of its injuries. Recovering themselves the Venators checked for injuries and further threats, though it seemed somehow they had escaped the ambush unharmed.

Moving carefully on to the exit nearest their target area (a large vent about ten feet up the wall exterior) the team managed to get out without much difficulty. In the distance they could still see the burning promethium trailer, as well as some flapping sheen birds scavenging from carrion. Duchess eagerly followed OT’s instruction to disperse the birds and spent a few minutes gleefully chasing them away. Upon investigating the results of their previous firefight the Venators spent some time trying to spot how they entered the area, and between them and Elsu’s skill at tracking they found tattered fur from a woven cloak on the edge of an entry grating to the west which they decided to follow. Before they could leave they were alerted by Bob’s beeping as he hovered over the corpse of the apprentice shaman, as the group approached the servo skull sunk down and began to bash itself off the corpses scalp, reminding them that they were being paid by the scalp (a task Ava took to with perhaps a little too much relish.) They managed to retrieve most of the other corpses scalps without difficulty, though all showed signs of carrion on them and one of the truck crew looked to have been dragged away at some point overnight. The last corpse was buried under the rubble of the building Grimm part collapsed however and it took teamwork and Duchess help to drag it to a point where the braid and a section of scalp could be retrieved.

Entering the grate Elsu successfully backtracked the renegades across several domes, following faint trails and scuff marks that no up-hiver would have seen in the dim light. Eventually they reached an abandoned manufactorum area where they spotted harsh firelight inside one large building, standing out against the red lit backdrop of the rest of the area. Before they could advance however the hair on the back of Ava’s neck gave her warning of something not right up ahead, and Elsu also spotted something through his scope. Across the rubble strewn valley they were heading down was a line of 8 poles, spaced around 10 yards apart, and on each pole was a section of dismembered human. Remembering what the ratskins in town said about ghost-fences and Eyes in the Darks abilities they halted to discuss a way around, initially looking at using Grimm as bait to lure the ratskins out of their lair. Eventually Elsu slunk off to look for another path, and scaling the sides of the canyon he found a side trail 30 yards up that went past the fence to the canyons end, though it ended in a sharp drop.

The other followed Elsu’s lead when he returned, and silently made their way across the path in the dim light, not risking light lest they be seen. Hans dropped off first using his drop rig to cushion the fall, then with a rope from his survival kit Elsu helped the others down, though they were less than graceful and each managed to dislodge rubble or bounce off the canyon walls at least once. They were just preparing to hoist Hans drop rig back up for Duchess when the blindsnake pouch at Elsu’s neck grew blisteringly hot, giving him enough warning to leap back as a rifle round punctured the path he had been standing on.

The Ratskin Venator activated his new comm-bead:


--- end of session 6 ---

The view from the valley of the renegade camp

The approach to the camp

Elsu pushed himself against the canyons jagged wall to get some cover from the sniper whilst down below the remaining venators scattered into cover of their own, Grimm and OT behind a ruined hab, Ava and Hans running forward through pools of tepid water behind a pile of rubble. Using his infra scope Elsu scanned the building, but whilst several small heat sources stood out he could not see the attacker. 

OT whistled for Duchess, who tried to scramble down the ravines side only to slip on the loose scrap, dislodging a small avalanche of rubble. She succeeded in catching herself with her retractable claws on an exposed girder only to slip again as a second shot rang out from above, glancing off the Cyber-mastiff's leg enhancement and sending it skidding down again. OT ran from cover to try and break it's eventual fall whilst the others crept closer. 

Grimm started checking the windows for the telltale flash of light reflecting from a scope, but it wasn't until the unknown sniper took another shot at Duchess that he spotted them. Relaying this information to Elsu Grimm advanced into a more solid hab to the south, where Ava and Hans had already taken cover. Now he knew what he was looking for Elsu steadied his breath and trained hie eye on the window Grimm pointed out. As a dark shape raised into view Noctis spat fire and the high powered las round blew half the targets head off instantly, the figure slumping through the window and falling to the ground far below with a cracking of bones. 

The first target neutralised Elsu spotted four more shapes leaving the factorums massive gates, two skulking into the ruins in the west and two more creeping toward the hab where the Venators were taking guard. Taking aim at the skulkers Elsu managed to drop one but couldn't tell if he was pinned behind cover or more seriously wounded.  Exchanging fire with the Venators neither side could cause any real damage until whooping warcries in a guttural tongue two of the Renegades broke cover and charged towards the Hab, only to be met with a blast of Shredder from Grimm's combat shotgun. The blast caught the closest full across the face and chest ripping flesh from bone and tearing him apart in a spray of blood, his flailing torso shielded the furthest however who was only knocked from her feet by the remaining flechettes. Hans started his own tally here however as he unleashed a ball of rolling plasma from his new pistol. The stunned ratskin was left screaming in agony as her right arm and the whole right side of her torso was melted by the impact, the liquid plasma spreading to cover her face and leg as she fell to the ground in agony. 

At the rear OT had finally succeeded in grounding Duchess and beganmaking his way deeper into cover, Elsu took another shot at the Ratskin in the ruins but could do no more than wing them. The two standing renegades returned fire- a volley of Autogun rounds scattering off the cliff round Elsu and a Las-blast scorching the window frame by Ava's head. Never one to let a challenge go unanswered Ava vaulted the window and bounced nimbly up the ruins into melee with the shooter. Grimm advanced with his hammer and put the squealing Ratskin in the centre out of her misery, unfortunately attracting the attention of the Ratskin in the ruins who bounced a spray of shells off the goliath's massive form. This movement was enough to allow Elsu to zero in however and another Long-Las round put the shooter down for good. Ava's blades whirred in a complex web of death as she met her opponent on the rubble, her Stilleto blade carving a furrow across his chest and opening his defence up for a vicious downward strike which all but bisected his torso.

Grimm was just withdrawing his power hammer from the shattered corpse when he felt a heavy blow on his rear armour knock him forward, turning round he saw a ghostly blue figure that flickered and out of focus wielding an ornate staff which it drew back for a second strike. Hans had witnessed this apparitions appearance and rolled over the window ledge he was using for cover, extending his stun baton and bursting electricity over the phantom, seemingly successfully as it faded to nothing after the blow. 

In the brief calm after the dispatch of this forward group of defenders Elsu came down from his vantage point and OT moved up with the rest into ruins by the gate. As they regrouped and began to plan their assault they could hear chanting from within, which Elsu translated as taunts, designed to bait the venators into what would undoubtedly be a vicious crossfire. The group had not notice Ava's continued agitation, she had seen what could only be described as witchcraft when the blue phantom struck at Grimm, and the scrolls from her dead guardian haunted her memory 'Suffer not the Witch'. Unleashing a torrent of catechisms and psalms the Escher launched herself directly into the mouth of the gate, both swords ready to spill the blood of Heretics.   

The ratskin camp, Ava entered in the centre of the top edge 

Perhaps the Emperor was pleased with his warrior, or maybe she just used up a lifetimes luck in one moment. Either way the Ratskin ambush, a crossfire of Lasgun, shotgun, autopistol and musket rounds all either  missed the charging hellion or bounced of her increasingly battered armour. leaping into the air to attack the closest foe (a Lasgun wielding female on a slightly raised gantry around a massive tank) her leap fell short my just inches, her chainsword screaming in frustration as it carved away the protective handrail round the gantry.

Outside the remaining Venators had just managed to agree on a rough plan before Ava's screaming exit caught them off guard. In a bid to distract the shaman and enrage the remaining fighters enough to break their nerve and halt the ambush Hans began systematically scalping and desecrating the corpses of the fallen renegades. This was ultimately perhaps a little too successful as the blue phantom immediately appeared beside him and rained a savage barrage of attacks which his armour barely stopped. OT and Duchess both moved in to support Hans and distract the spirit further. 

Grimm's house may not have much time for the daughters of house Escher, but Ava's bravery and combat prowess had impressed him on several occasions, and he was not going to let her spring the trap alone, hefting his hammer he followed her into the gateway bellowing a house Goliath forge song as he charged. Immediately he came under fire from the unengaged defenders, though the rounds mostly bounced off he did take a painful shotgun shell to his ribs as he exposed his back to engage one of the attackers. Ava meanwhile had been assaulted by a muscled ratskin in elaborate leathers wielding a decorated club and a vicious skinning knife, and the two were now caught up in a swirling duel where swords parried blows and counterstruck only to be dodged in return. The young ratskin facing Grimm was lifted into the air by the force of his hammer blow, his insides pulped by the shock of impact. Grimm leapt onto the gantry stairs to chase down the shotgunner who had dared to wound him before, smashing down the lasgun armed female who’d been standing in his way.  

Outside Hans was single-mindedly moving from corpse to corpse and scalping them, ignoring the shaman spirit completely as it vainly struck at his expertly crafted armour. OT and duchess continued to distract it and it's rage grew so vast that it momentarily lost control of it's power, causing a rip in the weave of reality through which Hans slipped. He found himself stood in a leather tent, before him a prostrate form chanting in an unknown language bending over a small group of fetishes. The shocked figure looked up at Hans who lashed out reflexively with his baton, only then noticing his own figure was now blue and incorporeal. Lightning crackled across the Shaman's arm from the baton strike as reality set back in and Hans was returned unharmed if a little nauseous to his body outside the wall. Only moments later the spirit returned to plague him again, though this time favouring it's right hand side when it struck.  

Elsu had finally made it as far as the open centre ground and began quickly evaluating the situation he could see, bringing his rifle up to seek out a target. His eyes had just found the Shotgun armed renegade when he saw them unleash a salvo of solid shells right into Grimms bulk, the Goliath's forge armour held but he found himself knocked back through the gap Ava had carved in the handrail, almost landing on the Escher and her opponent both with his abhuman frame. Elsu had seen enough and took a straight shot at the shotgunner, another clean kill that dropped the ratskin from their perch onto the hard plascrete below. 

In Ava's fight the appearance of a flying Goliath had caused her to drop her guard and she now nursed a nasty slice across her ribs from the Ratskins skinning knife.  Enraged Ava switched her grips and launched another whirlwind offensive, this time managing to finally drive the stiletto blade past his skilled defense and driving it deep into his chest. An explosion of air and blood erupted from the Renegades mouth as the Escher toxin caused his lungs to seize up, taking a final swing at Ava he slipped and fell to his knees, desperately retching for air. Ava may be psychotic but she is rarely slow to kill, and another arcing swing of her twin blades took the gasping renegades head off and carved chunks from his torso. Raising the head in the air by it's braids Ava declaimed the emperor's word. 

'And thou shalt know the servants of his light by the darkness they give unto thee! Ava's gonna kill ya!' 

An anguished scream echoed from deeper within the factorum and the blue spirit facing Hans winked out, only to appear by the severed head where it began to viciously attack Ava. Grimm meanwhile had lurched to his feet and brought down the remaining ratskin youth with musket, a scrawny female that was shockingly accurate with her ancient weapon, though it's poor quality meant her shots had little effect on the skirmish. OT, Hans and Elsu cautiously moved into the factory as with a vicious riposte Ava caught the spirits staff against the edge of her chainblade, driving it forward and temporarily dispelling it. with no visible enemies left the Venators re-equipped themselves and  prepared for the final assault on the camp.

--- end of session 7 --- 

Finishing knotting the Ratskins chief's severed head to her belt, Ava peered around the edge of the silo in front of her where she could make out the closest ratskin tents silhouetted by the campfire beneath the 4 story forge building. As Grimm joined her he mentioned to the others that this manufactorum was an STC he had seen many times in Goliath enclosures, and that the only ground level entrance and exit was the door they came in. The other exits on the upper floors he could see had either been destroyed or never connected leaving just one potential at the rear of the building that could be used by the remaining Ratskins to flee. The venators conferred briefly and Elsu volunteered to head up the steps around the silos to the gantry above and circle round to watch the rear. Grimm had also spotted some canisters and jerry cans in the corner of the factorum that could come in useful in the skirmish. The hunters broke cover almost simultaneously, Elsu leaping between ladders and walkways to scramble to the third set where they connected to both the central building and teh exterior. As he clambered higher a Las round scorched the plascete silo next to him, but once the enemy shot was drawn out it gave Grimm, OT and Ava chance to advance with Hans providing cover. 

The ratskins retaliation was another las round from the closest tent to OT, that managed to pin him behind a pile of rubble, and a burst of auto fire that shredded the tent Ava was running toward, preempting her my seconds. The final attack was a burst of green energy the struck OT where he lay, momentarily clouding his mind though he shook off most of the effect. Grimm meanwhile had reached the pile of containers and found a gas canister with little damage that was small enough to hurl but big enough to cause a lot of damage. The burly Goliath wrenched it free of the debris and turned to head back to the camp.  Ava ignited her chainsword and tore the tent before her down before skipping behind the next in line- this movement drew the eye of her previous attacker who unleashed another round of auto-weapon fire in her direction, this time the bullets managed to strike their target but ricocheted off The Eschers salvaged armour. 

Hans Drew aim on the tent containing Ava's attacker, but a the last moment he saw the las shot that downed Ot lash out from a closer tent. seeing OT hit the deck and not knowing what state he was in, Hans judged the shooter to be a bigger threat and quickly fired a short burst directly into the tent, guessing from the las hole left roughly where his opponent's head would be. A sizzle and a thud rewarded his shot but without visual confirmation he advanced forward with all caution. Another green blast struck OT down again, this time he got a better idea of the attacks direction so he started to pan his scoped boltgun round the upper levels of the inner forge building. During this brief firefight Elsu had all but disappeared into the shadows on the gantry, skulking expertly around the walkway he stepped past abandoned upper storey rooms and vast fans tumbling slowly on ancient cycles. 

Ava sprinted to the next tent once again, and as the hidden figure who had been tracking her stepped to the door of his own tent he was briefly illuminated by the campfire. Unfortunately for him Hans had by now crept up to the inner circle and had a clear shot of his lit form, another short burst catching the assailant in the throat and sending him spinning back into the shadows of the tent. Grimm caught up with OT as he tracked the upper floors, dragging his makeshift explosive with him. Another green flash lanced out, this time targeting the Goliath who seemed unaffected by the attack. This did finally give OT the information he heeded to zero in on the unseen attacker, and he voxed across the team 'Target on third floor central building' then quickly began climbing the nearest ladder, his faithful mastiff following with it's adapted claws having checked out the tents nearby for survivors of Hans fire.  

Up above them the strain of summoning too much energy from the warp in this desperate defense finally got to the Ratskin Shaman. A slip of the tongue on his last incantation causing the hellish energy to flood his mind and filling him with inhuman visions.

Ava decided to take down the largest tent in the camp with her customary restraint and reversing the grip on her chainsaw leapt high onto the tanned leathers and scrap construction. As her shrieking blade pierced the material her weight dragged her down and through the hole into the tent. The release of tension holding it together caused the whole thing to collapse in on itself, surprising the bulky ratskin that had been hidden within. Instinct took over as Ava saw him, and she used the momentum of her fall into the tent to roll into him, knocking him from his feet and landing on him. This acrobatic takedown propelled the pair of them out of the tent just as it finally collapsed completely, leaving Ava astride her enemy beside the raging campfire. The burly Ratskin attempted to grab Ava by the throat and cast her off him but the blood covered Escher proved to slippy, and he earned a retaliatory punch to the face for his trouble. 

Grimm jogged into the building and with a cry of 'Fire in the Hole!' expertly lobbed the canister into the campfire where it began to glow from the heat. On the gantry at the edge of the fight Elsu used his infrascope to track the third floor, seeing movement through a small gap he fired, and was rewarded with a grunt and the sight of a figure falling to it's knees. Elsu watched as the figure summoned green energy to it's hand and hurled it down the buildings central shaft into the melee. 

He had been betrayed! that was the only way his plan to conquer the tribe could have failed so dramatically! now he could even see the corruption in his allies. Below him Strikes-through was wrestling with an Escher harlot, but the shaman could see the treachery dripping from his skin like sweat. he threw another blast of psychic energy, this time at Strikes-Through, the Traitorous scum!

The Ratskin Champion had just managed to throw his attacker off him toward the fire and regain his feet when the green energy (Which Ava could now clearly see took the form of a ethereal bat) struck him in the face, this staggered him enough that Ava could roll to her feet and stepped once again in melee with him, carving into his chest with her chainsword but failing to seriously injure the brawler.
OT by now had reached the second floor, and could see the shaman leaning down into the central space where he lay on the floor above, pulling the trigger he unleashed a salvo of Boltgun rounds in the the exposed areas and roof, several rounds puncturing through and wounding the ratskin. Elsu also took another shot which would have caught the prone figure in the thigh had a strange green flash not dissipated it on impact. Having finished clearing the tents Hans had spotted the figure above as it unleashed it's previous green blast into it's ally. The Van Saar's Short burst caught the shaman in the hsoulder and flipped him back onto the floor and out of sight. 

If he could only slay his traitorous brother he would have the strength again to fight off these uphive scum, although every inch of him ached with injuries his enhanced metabolism strained to heal them. Crawling once more to the edge of the central hole he summoned another psychic blast and using the force of his will sent it screaming into the eyes of his former ally. 

 The Ratskin Champion hefted his brutal looking axe and stepped in to attack Ava, as he began a vicious swing at her exposed midriff another green blast from above struck him in the face. he immediately dropped his weapon and began clawing at his eyes and screaming. not one to miss an opportunity Ava stepped up and slowly drove the point of her stiletto blade into his neck, the razor sharp blade puncturing up through his jaw into his brain. The warrior twitched violently for a second and went limp. Grimm rushed to the last unchecked tent, Ava screamed in triumph, Hans took aim at the Shaman's hanging form and both OT and Elsu readied their own weapons to finish the enemy off. 
Grimm's thrown canister, heated beyond it's tolerance by the Ratskin bonfire, Exploded. 

The blastwave knocked all the fighters on the ground floor off their feet before a second wave of shrapnel and rubble smashed into them. Grimm's legs were lacerated by shreds of steel and falling debris ripping through the tents between him and the fire. Hans was thrown forcefully into the tent behind him, and as it collapsed into layers of thick hide and corrugated metal his armour was battered by red hot missiles, one of them punching through his softer plates into his leg. Ava was closest to the explosion and bore the brunt of it, her Flak armour doing nothing to stop her being battered and impaled in several places as she was bodily flung away from the centre of the blast. OT just had time to see the shaman caught by the blast hurling up the central shaft before the shaking building brought him to his knees beside duchess.

The ringing in Ava's ears may have left her stunned but for the agony of the burns across her body. dragging herself upright on a nearby ladder she cast a scathing look at the kneeling Goliath before forcing her aching from to climb up towards her next victim. Hans too could barely hear beyond the ringing in his ears. As the van saar struggled to free himself from what was left of the tent he tapped his earbead to vox the others 'If he's alive, throw the fucker off the roof for me', then seeing another ladder he too began to climb. Elsu had scrambled to a higher perch on the edge of one of the great fans that circled the walls, and with an expert shot managed to put another round into the shaman as it tried to rise. OT was by now just climbing on to the third floor where he could see the fallen psyker. 

The hammering in his ears cleared the shaman's mind, what was he thinking? he needed to flee now! these fools would be the death of him if he could not escape. Rising upright he saw one of his legs was nothing more than a scorched stump, and the other a tangled, broken mess, Roaring in frustration he sent his spirit to attack the sniper that last shot him, crawling towards a ladder as he cast. 

The image that appeared next to Elsu was a lesser version of the one that had previously attacked Hans. Like a reflection in running water it bulged and shrank, great patches drifting away in the unseen current only to reappear moments later. The strike aimed at Elsu was easily avoided, though the piercing hate filled eyes were not so easily dodged. Back on the building OT stepped forward and fired his boltgun into the shaman, the mysterious green energy deflecting most of the shots but one punched through, further mangling the remaining leg. Duchess charged in and began to tear at the Renegades injured side, before an Orb of green energy expanded from the Shaman's staff, hurling Duchess through the air and hurtling to the floor far below.  

Seeing this shockwave launch Duchess the newly arrived Hans shouted 'get his damn staff' as Ava charged in, carving another great gash across the shamans chest in her signature attack. Her following stiletto strike however was parried by the shamans staff where the blade stuck- this so surprised Ava that she was caught unawares by a strike to her skull from the wedged weapons. seeing Ava's successful attack had dissipated the spirit attacking Elsu, OT stepped in too, bringing his own chainsword down into the shaman but failing to pierce his unnatural shield. From across the building Hans ran, leaping the central gap he grasped the shamans staff in both hands, snatching it from both the ratskins grasp and Ava's blade. rolling over his enemy he smashed the stave into the side of the building, and as the green shield flared it bounced off, spinning into the darkness. 

The near mortally wounded Renegade tried to claw his way out of the fight one final time before a sniper rifle shot from Elsu punched into his chest. Without the mystical armour the shot was instantly fatal, shattering the shamans ribcage and shredding the heart within. as the impact flipped the corpse over onto the prone Hans Ava moved in to ensure their enemy was down. Hans rolled free as Grimm too arrived and Ava brutally hacked the head from the corpse, kicking the torso into the air as she held a loft the severed head. 'Suffer not the mutant, the heretic, or the witch!' the bloodstained and battered Escher grinned at the butchered trophy. 

Searching the area for any more survivors the Venators claimed their bounty scalps, as well as a sizeable cache of small arms, though little in the way of additional ammo. Credits and melee weapons were found too, and in one of the smaller freestanding buildings enough pilfered foodstuff and alchohol to withstand a siege of several months. Their final trophy was in the shattered remnants of the camp though- a faded map in an ancient hand, with instructions to find a dome of some importance. whilst this looting took place OT managed t patch up some of Grimm and Ava's more serious inuries, though Grimm had by now taken such a battering that some of the injuries were beyond OT's skill. Grimm repaid this by helping Hans replace Duchess leg, which had been wrenched from it's cybernetic socket by the fall and had landed several meters from the rest of the hound. Hans did a job any Van Saar would be proud of, but without a major refit the hound would struggle to be anything other than a scout for a while.  Gathering together their salvage as well as enough food and drink to sate them the Venators holed up in a solid looking upper room in the outer wall Elsu spotted earlier and bedded down for the off-cycle, knowing that if they didn't rest before pressing on to the next bounty they would face even more severe difficulties.

--- End of Session 8 ---

Waking the next day, the Venators discussed the next bounty over breakfast, this time the hunt for a Ulanti noble who had gone missing near the Aquifer gate after some hunting outhive. Elsu remarked that he knew of an overhead needleway above the domes nearby that could get them onto the Aquifer road faster and safer than the path through the ruins they entered by. after a brief discussion they group decided to take Elsu's path and they packed up some gear, left the rest stashed and moved out. 

Walking past the now defunct ghost fence and back into the pipes they entered, the ratskin guided the group to a long derelict lift shaft rising high into the roof of the dome. after climbing the ladders on the walls the Venators found themselves stood on top of the lift itself,with an open rent in the side of the shaft leading to a rubble strewn corridor. 

Cautiously moving forward, Elsu and Duchess took point. the corridor twisted as though mauled by a giant hand and led out into a large open area, what seems to be an old mass transit carriage on it's side, wedged into place against the shaft. Broken windows gave a view of the domes far below, and skylights shattered and choked with rubble appeared to have been tunneled through and out into the rubble holding the carriage in place. Hearing a scrabbling sound Elsu crept up to the closest of these skylights, and peering round the corner saw a feline-lizard creature intent on devouring a large rat corpse. Recognising it as a Felynx, (a creature of Escher creation) he called up Ava to take a look too. 

Back at the lift shaft Grimm was having trouble fitting his bulk through the narrow tunnel connecting the lift to the transit car. deciding to divest himself of his armour and gear to squeeze through he started to strip off, telling the others to advance without him for now. 

Ava decided that whilst the Felynx wasn't a huge threat it was better to eliminate it now rather than risk it joining with the pack that was sure to be around somewhere. Moving in swiftly with her stiletto blade she scored it across the beasts back, but even caught by surprise the Felynx moved fast enough that it was only a grazing blow. Turning and letting out a rasping hiss, the chimera launched itself at Ava, biting a chunk out of her exposed midriff and sending it's poison deep into her system. The Felynx hiss and Ava's cry were enough to draw the attention of more of the pack, and 3 more Felynx entered the transit car though their skylight dens. Ava reacted faster than the new attackers though, and  drawing her power knife in her off hand drove the beats back with stiletto blows before diving the knife into it's ear, killing it instantly. 

The remaining beasts swept into the Venators in a wave of tattered fur and decaying claws. the first to reach them Leapt for Elsu, but a remaining piece of glass under it's feet shattered beneath the pressure of the leap, as it fell it scrabbled to hold on to the edge before Elsu stepped up and drove it off with the butt of his rifle, sending it falling to the distant ground below. The other two aimed for Duchess and Hans as he stood by the open tunnel the venators entered by, but his thick Mesh armour and bodysuit combination withstood their teeth and claws easily. The Van Saar popped his baton from his belt, and without waiting for it to extend fully shoved it into the nearest open mouth where it extended and shocked at the same time, overloading the beasts brain leaving it a twitching corpse on the floor. 

OT drew his Boltpistol and took aim at the last Felynx harassing Duchess, but fate was not kind to him as duchess lunged in front of hi barrel as he pulled the trigger. In slow motion OT saw the bolt round punch through his already wounded companion, somehow not detonating until it exited her torso in a bloody spray. Knocked from her feet by the blast Duchess stumbled straight through the same window that the first Felynx had fallen through, and only the quick reactions of Elsu and OT caught the cyber mastiff before it too went tumbling far to the domes below. The remaining Felynx, caught off guard by it's enemies sudden vanishing act, was completely unprepared for the now extended stun baton of Hans, which caught it square on the side of the neck, shocking it backwards where it too fell through the broken window. 

Ava stumbled out of the den holding her side, the venom in the bite was making her drowsy, and she recognised it as a variant of Kalma. knowing enough adrenaline could counter it she beat her chest and shouted psalms in the emperor's name, the cacophany kickstarting her system and purging the poison.  each of the Venators took a new task, Hans guarded the next exit, a massive hole in the 'floor' of the carriage leading to a glowing tiled corridor. Ava and Elsu went through the Felynx nests, Elsu finding a handful of creds among decaying rat carcasses and Ava coming across the corpse of a freshly slain Cawdor juve. Partially eaten by the Phelynx he still wore his bronze grotesque, which Ava took to see if he could be identified by it. OT knelt next to Duchess, feverishly working with his medkit to stabilise her. As the bleeding stopped and the mastiff opened her eyes, weakly lifting her head to lap at his hand, OT realised she was not going to survive more combat without serious medical help.   

Back at the liftshaft, Grimm had stripped to vest and trousers only, but was still too bulky to squeeze through. Hearing OT's call on the radio he offered to take the injured beast back to town whilst the others carried on. He'd catch up with them later on the Aquifer road. As he redressed and started to carry the hound down the shaft into the darkness OT watched his faithful companion inert form until she was no longer visible. Ava had spent the time attempting to milk the venom glands from the deceased felynx. The first corpse had been going well until she applied too much pressure and snapped the teeth. The second had either expended it's whole reserve when it bit her or simply had such a small venom sac that it couldn't be harvested, leaving the frustrated Escher to move on.  

A whistle from Elsu drew the crew back to the exit, as more scrabbling could be heard in the glowing tunnel. Elsu cautiously moved in, only to be driven back by a swarm of beasts, two more felynx and a larger creature behind. Parrying with his rifle Elsu could not fend off the ravening teeth for long as one felynx passed his guard and gouged a deep bite  in his side, poison running into his system through the slash. Drowsy and wounded, Elsu quickly rolled backwards away from the fight and drew his rifle. OT stepped between the felines and Elsu, not wishing to lose another comrade today, and Ava drew her Chainsword, gunning it's engine. Charging into the closest Felynx the Escher swept the blade up from underneath  and caught it square in the ribs, with muscles bulging the hellion continued to bring the blade up, through its ribcage, lungs, heart and eventually spine as the shrieking creature was sliced into two bloody chunks by the whirling blade. 

The Felynx that bit Elsu was not going to let wounded prey escape so easily. Attempting to follow him it was surprised when Hans baton cracked down onto it's spine, stunning it long enough for a second blow to send it spinning through another window into the void. Now the larger shape appeared, as a Phyrr cat lunged at Hans, his armor deflecting the creature long enough for him to return the favour, striking a nerve centre with his baton so hard that the cat collapsed instantly. Hans then made good on his lucky strike,  ending it's life with another blow to the neck.  

With all the immediate threats neutralised OT moved up to check Elsu's injuries. Although he managed to staunch the bleeding the wound was too deep for him to fix up completely, and the Toxin had him baffled until Ava added her chemystry knowledge to his own and they gave Elsu a boost of adrenaline to keep him going (Ot then jabbed the empty stimm into the Phyrr cats toxin sac and drew off an unknown poison on teh way past). The room beyond the tightly lit corridor was clad in what were once clean, white tiles, now stained with years of regret. In the centre of the room a glowing console linked to a large machine with a tunnel running into it. Lights still blinked on both the console and machine, but the Phyrr cat nest in teh tunnel and gnawed wiring suggested that it had not been usable for some time. When asked about the machine Elsu shrugged, it was not his people's way to tamper with Archeotech where hivers had not moved it, and even though he had used this passage several times before he did not see a reason to interfere. (Hans however recognised it as an Archeotech medicae device, and made a note to inform his house if ever the opportunity arose to reclaim it.)

Moving through to the two exits, a narrow crack in the tiles to the east or a larger tunnel to the south guarded by a mechanical door, Elsu decided that the slightly longer route from the rooms rear exit was preferable to another potential ambush or rockfall at the less accessible crack. As cautiously as possible the group continued their advance, though other than discarded bones and ragged nests found no other sign of Felid's in the Voidspace between domes they now moved through. A trail in the darkness caught Elsu's eye, and tracking it back with his scope a slumped figure could be seen against another dimly lit console. Halting the party he checked the room over, but the porne form was the only thing out of place. The ratskin moved up and took a closer look, finding a young escher uve in her teens lying bleeding from a cut to her midesction, her only weapon a razor sharp leaf of mirrored steel with a crude wrap handle round it's stem. After Elsu called for OT to check on the wounded girl the rest moved in, and Ava and Hans quickly surmised this could be the missing Juve the Howling Bitches asked them about in the High Gear a few days earlier. 

Initially reluctant to risk an attack from the Juve if they woke whilst being treated, OT and Ava suggested drawing some Kalma from the remaining Felynx corpses and administering the sleeping chem to her before examining the wounds. Ava's previous experience at failing to gather the samples stood her in good stead this time as she successfully gleaned two doses of the chem, using one to ensure the Juve stayed asleep. OT's quick medical examination was enough to discover that other than the now patched up wound to the Juve's side and lacerations to both hands there were no other injuries of note, and he offered to carry her the rest of the way through the needleways to the Aquifer road. Hans meanwhile had explored a side room during the medicae work and found a small generatorium. Inserted into the console were 3 power packs that would fit into most standard issue tools, including las-weaponry with a little modification, he stashed them and moved back to the group as they lifted the sleeping Escher and descended into what Elsu said would be the final stage of the journey.

The Voidspace exited through a closed bulkhead into the inside workway of one of the massive light tubes that illuminated the dome below. Through gaps in the mechanism they could see the ruins and rubble that bordered the road stretching into the distance, and the well lit workway allowed them to see the bloody trail left by the juve who evidentally came this way before passing out. The ladder within was curved to follow the roof and after about a mile and a half canted at such a harsh angle that they more more climbing than crawling. Just when the angle seemed to be reaching almost vertical a round hatch with a sealed wheel lock gave them an exit into a small maintenance room. 

The scene within the room was of a bloody ambush, the corpse of another Juve, this time an Orlock from a trouble causing gang in the area by the look of his markings, lay beside a dead Phyrr cat, blood from both mingling with the trail left by their Escher patient. The Orlock carried another leaf-like blade which the group retrieved, but was otherwise unarmed. Elsu indicated a second hatch in the rooms floor, beneath which lay a tall ladder leading down from the needleway to the dome floor, cunningly hidden from the sight of those on the ground in the recesses between a supporting bastion and an effluent pipe.  

Using a combination of muscle and Drop rigs the Venators managed to lower the still unconscious Juve to the floor before they all followed. Setting up a small camp at the base of the ladder where they could still remain hidden whilst watching the road they settled down to wait for the Goliath to catch them up, or the Juve to wake, whichever came first. 

--- End of session 9 --- 

 After taking onboard water and ration packs Elsu quickly disappeared back up the ladder in order to clean up the maintenance shaft, not wanting any workers to realise it had been discovered and increase security along the ratskin path. Taking turns to catch up on some sleep the Venators set up a watch schedule, Ava first watching vehicles pass and the occasional gang skulking in the shadows of the ruins across the road. Hans went next, and although normal traffic did not divert him much he did take note of three enforcers that passed by following an auspex of some sort, their glossy purple and black armour  and expensive combat shotguns making them stand out amongst the usual scrubs. Last watch went to OT, who first checked on the still sleeping juve. Sitting hidden in the shadow of the pipework Ot began to lose himself in reverie of the times spent with his canid companion, and concern over her safety. This introspective mood distracted the Orlock Venator so Much that the giant walking vehicle was almost on them when his comm-bead buzzed in his ear 

'Grimm to Epsilon, anyone around?' 

Carrying Duchess inert form, Grimm had slogged his way back through the shattered domes and pipes to the water guild pumping station, where he had been surprised to find Samwuell negotiating a sale with Greaser, who nodded cautiosly at them before returning to haggling with Sanwuell over a keg of some sort of alchohol. Sam noticed Grimms approach too , as well as the ruined hound over his shoulder. After a brief chat Sam explained that he was on a short jaunt out to the Aquifer Gate itself, then back to the Hollows (a journey of only a few days in the walker, rather than more than a week on foot). He offered to take Duchess back to the Guild House to save Grimm a journey and allow him to catch up with the rest of his team. In addition Grimm managed to barter transport for himself along the road until he met his compatriots by manning Samwuells Pintle heavy bolter on the journey. 

The journey was relatively quiet for an underhive trek, with only one set of raiders brave enough to snipe at the walker, Grimm responded enthusiastically by demolishing the building the fire came from with a spray of heavy bolter rounds. Sporadically firing up his comm-bead to check for the team.  As the bouncing walker approached a turn in the road by a huge bastion he finally got a return for a surprised sounding OT. 

OT stood and waved to get Grimms attention, forgetting that he was effectively hidden from view, before belatedly stepping out in to the open when the confused Grimm in the vehicle cupola still couldn't see him. Grimm yelled into the speaking tube connecting him with Samwuell's cabin and managed to bring the walker to a halt, where under a screech of pistons and protesting joints it settled to the floor. The side ramp descended and Grimm lurched out, followed by Samwuell who waved pleasantly to the Venators. Grimm shouldered his way through rubble and pipes to the camp and drop his gear, which containing much of the loot they had picked up so far made enough racket to finish the job of waking the rest OT had started. This included the Juve, who sprang to her feet and backed off to a wall, hands scrabbling at her belt for a weapon that wasn't there.  

'Who the feth are you lot?'

The venators (including Elsu who was descending from the roof as Grimm arrived) sought to calm the situation, and after seeing their warrant (and gaining their assurance that there was no bounty on her) the Juve named Kat opened up and described how she came to be in the needleways above. 

'They grabbed us right out of the settlements, three juves, me, an Orlock who's name I couldn't give a scrag about and a Cawdor, Veth, who seemed alright for an emperor-botherer. They gave us these funny-lookin' daggers and paraded us round this casinofull of nobs out on a rig over the sump, so the 'guests' could place bets on how long we'd last in some sort of maze we were s'posed to be running later. Anyway, it never got to that as something fethed up, duhnno what. first thing we knew was all the punters runnin' one way, teh security the other and the three of us took a chance and went with the civvies. Managed to get off the rig before we was missed. We'd made it most of the way back to the road when Veth realised we were being followed by a pack of drakkin' Phelynx. The grox-fethers cornered us here in this dead end when I spotted the ladder, no idea where it went but better than being felid-food right? We headed up with them scampering up right behind us.

That's where the Fething Scabratch sumprat Orlock shivved me. He thought the wound would slow me down long enough for me tp distract the Felid's whilst he ran. what he didn't see was the Phelynx behind him that knocked him over and tore his throat out. His plan worked pretty well though as the rest of teh pack was too distracted eating him to stop me getting up the lumintube, i'd just shut the bulkhead behind me when I passed out."

The Venators assured Kat they had nothing to do with the nobles, although they were interested in finding them. They gave Kat some spare weapons from their loot and food, and she returned the favour by drawing a surprisingly accurate map of a route to the rig. The Juve knew Samwuell from his visits to their dome and she went down and grabbed a lift from him (Samwuell had been fixing a faulty door in the road whilst this was happening and happily agreed.). 

Once the mechanical walker was on it's way the two venators who had spent the downcycle awake grabbed a quick break whilst the others maintained their weaponry and ate. Once everyone was rested they headed off following Kat's map, sticking to the shallow ruins and low buildings by the side of teh road rather than exposing themselves as targets. Only twice in the journey of several hours were they alerted to the presence of others, both times it seemed that their immediate reaction and heavily armed appearance was enough to scare the hidden enemies away. Grimm wasn't paying a s much attention as the others as he was expounding upon the architecture aging as they moved away from the sunken core of the hive to areas that had once been outlying towns on the planets surface. Gothic arches and flying buttresses were gradually being replaced with functional plascrete blocks and towering hab blocks.

Once they reached the point where Kat's map indicated they should leave the road Elsu took the lead, scampering through the labyrinthine domes off the road for hours until they reached a bluff overlooking a vast sump lake. Several huge factorum rigs sat squatting in the rain and darkened domes like monstrous crustaceans, one of which had lights showing from several windows, as well as guiding lights for speeders winking atop it's cooling towers and vanes. Two sets of cable car rails led from teh rig to the shore, more than hundred metres away. three small buildings sat on the shores edge by the cable car rails, a control room, a smaller storage shed and a larger  hangar.

Spotting movement Elsu halted the rest of the group, but not before a careless step from OT dislodged a wall which sent a cascade of rubble rumbling down the slope. By the hangar the Ratskin had spotted two figures in heavy armour, who having heard the noise were now panning their luminators across the landscape, where the bulky form of Grimm, OT and Hans could be seen. The lead figure shouted in High Gothic (which only Hans and Ava could understand) as a third figure came round the corner and took aim, adding a long rifle to the two combat shotguns pointed at the Venators. In return the still hidden Elsu and Ava aimed their own weapons at the group. 

'House Enforcers, state your business, lay down your weapons or retreat!' 

Hans stepped forward arms raised, and began a dialogue with the 'Enforcers' which started with showing their Venator credentials, and although the officer was terse and condescending (and Hans was sarcastic and rude) eventually they came to an understanding and the other Venators stepped out. Elsu was the last to reveal himself, and he noted that the officer of the group seemed younger than the rest, and less assured in his movements and mannerisms. 

Rather than Palanite Enforcers, the small group was the remaining members of a squad of House Ulanti personal enforcement, despatched to find Jevryson and bring him home. The Tracker they carried had struggled to lock on to his location though and the team had been badly mauled by unknown underhive denizens before finally tracking the minor noble's beacon to the rig. They were now stuck trying to get across as the cable cars seemed non-functional, and were happy to let the Venators 'assist' them. 

The larger hangar was found to contain a small sumpskiff that two of the enforcers were attempting to get operational. The central control seemed to have power, but when Hans and Grimm went to check the cable car itself they found no power for the device. Tracking the cable back they found a panel behind which there should have been a power supply for the Car, but it had been removed and a cursory look couldn't see it around the room. After a technical discussion Grimm and Hans thought if they found a different power source they could possibly rig something up. 

Hans found one of the Enforcers (not the sergeant who was still being a snotty brat) and asked if the skiff had a power supply, The Enforcer (who turned out to be female) told them to help themselves, and they quickly recovered three powercells from the vehicle. individually these wouldn't be enough to get the cable car but if they spliced them together they should have enough for a couple of journeys. Once again the Van Saars technical background combined with Grimms brute mechanics served the party well and they quickly had an effective (if ugly) power supply, causing the cablecar to hum and it's luminators to slowly flicker to life. 

 Stepping aboard the Venators were followed by two of the enforcers, the female having been ordered to take up post in the control hut. When Hans asked if she would be OK on here own she shrugged and indicated it was better than spending more time with the Sgt. The cable car rumbled to life and slowly crept across the gap to the rig. The sergeant checked his weapons quicky after watching the remaining enforcer do the same with his long rifle. The arrival of the car into a hangar beneath the rig was urprisingly gentle, the only light coming from the car itself and a flashing rune over a door set high above them on a gantry accessed by steel stairs. Snappin a Lumen-tube to his rifle the enforcer advanced to the foot of the stairs, sweeping the hangar as the Venators also moved in, Hans activating his head Luminator and the others their low-light vision aids. The Sergeant checked the scanner and followed it to the north wall of the room, but without any other exit var the stairs had to backtrack and catch up with the Venators. 

At the top of the stairs Grimm took up position to open the door, and as he held his had over the activation rune Ava drew and activated her weaponry. Pushing the rune they moved in cautiously, Hans panning his lumin across the shadows and Elsu using his Infra sight to confirm no heat signatures. The room looked like the interior of a grand casino dropped into a working factorum. A metal grill floor had been refitted and polished, and a curved bar at one end of the room made of  red wood and backed by rows of glass bottles reflected the light of the lumins back into the room. Three large tables dominated the floor, with other tables and chairs scattered around. The central table, easily 20ft long had a roulette wheel attached on a solid metal base, and across the floor drinks glasses, broken bottles and gambling ships were scattered as if droped by a rushing crowd. 

The only figure in the room was stood behind the bar, a female dressed in a ragged uniform. she stared out into the room with glazed eyes until the Enforcer sergeant challenged her. With a feral hiss and inhuman speed she leapt the counter and rushed towards him, only to be brought down by a fusillade of fire from the Venators. This explosion of noise seemed to draw the attention of other figures that had previously been lying slumped around the room, and they slowly rose to their feet and began tracking the noise. Grimm had advanced furthest into the room and knocked two more attackers from their feet with a spray of shredder fir from his shotgun, the bulk of the flechette rounds impating directly in the face of a well dressed uphiver, almost entirely decapitating him as well as sending the roulette wheel spinning with the force of the blast. Ava sprinted towards the goliaths back, and using the handgrip as a step vaulted the big Venator, landing in melee with another attacker, this one in a croupiers suit. Her stiletto sword lashed out and punched straight through the staggering victims heart, but rather than collapse as the venom shit down it's pulmonary system, the figure jerked and stepped backwards, pulling itself from the shocked Escher's blade. 

Across the room Elsu and OT were also struggling to combat the rig-dwellers unnatural resilience, each firing multiple shots into the pair charging them. Whilst eventually weight of fire brought down one uphive ghoul, the second leapt to it's feet faster than they thought possible and made it within melee range and began clawing at Elsu. Grimm caught this motion out of the corner of his eye and quickly rolled onto the table flanking the creature, delivering a massive kick to the side of it's head that cracked it's spine and sent it flying across the floor, where Elsu quickly finished it off. Hans moved in to assist Ava and between sword and stave they eventually pummelled it's face into a sticky mess, smashing it into the ground where it eventually stayed. 

As the Venators spread out across the room (and the enforcers examined the corpse of the first attacker) they marked three other doors to the room- one directly across from their own entry point which they assumed led to the other cable car dock, another past the gaming tables leading deeper into the rig, and a third heavier bulkhead by a large monitor on the wall, along from the door they entered through. All bar the heavy bulkhead door flashed green access runes on their consoles. OT knelt by the attacker he and Elsu had brought down and began to examine it, a nagging feeling of familiarity causing him to peel back one of the eyelids with a scalpel. Finding exactly what he feared, a dark root system growing around the eyeballs nerve stem he recoiled in horror. 

'Heirontius' Pox, it's a bloody plague...' 

--- end of session 10 ---   

A search of the room and it's deceased inhabitants didn't reveal much more than the group had already found. The pict-screen in the corner of the room flickered in and out of contact but seemed to show the interior of a steel room, expensive loungers and a stage with poles furnishing it. Illuminated by spinning dance lights figures stood in several places across the room and a vast vault door could be seen in the background.

 The two enforcers again took the lead, already moving before the Venators had finished searching and discussing their options. With a hiss the green rune flashed and gave the assembled group a view into another, smaller, gaming area. This area held three more Heirontius' Pox infected rig dwellers, one a cantily clad showgirl, two gamblers in underhive finery, and a final one dressed in ablative flak armour, drssed as some sor of security. Ava's blades and the firepower of the group made short work of these assailants, with the final security trooper having his head removed from his shoulders against the door opposite their entry. 

Elsu took some time to get his bearings, and using a ratskins preternatural sense of direction in the hive reckoned the door leading deeper into the rig was across from them, the red runed door to the left leading to a landing rig. The door opened to a long corridor, three more doors leading away from them. As Grimm passed through the portal he felt impact on his boot, and looked down to see the still moving decapitated head of one of their earlier foes attempting to gnaw on his armoured boot. In revulsion he kicked the offending head down the corridor into the shadows. Elsu identified the locked door on the right as access for another of the rigs landing pads. Hearing this the Enforcers punched the right hand doors access panel , but it was barely open a few inches when the Sergeant's swearing alerted the Venator team that something wasn't right. This was confirmed when both of the Ulanti agents began emptying their weapons through the doorway. 

Ava and Hans reacted first, moving to the doorway and peeking through, inside the darkened room the enforcers illuminators and muzzle fire picked out several moving figures, two of which showed the obvious bulk of a Goliath, though if anything these behemoths were even bulkier than a 'normal' Goliath like Grimm. Two smaller poxwalkers were being pushed back by the Enforcers fire, but theets that were knocking these attackers down seemed to have no effect on the Brutes coming from behind. The Venators added their fire to to the Enforcers and the closest smaller enemies were swiftly brought down, though only Elsu managed to score a shot on a Goliath vital enough to knock it from it's feet. Unseen by the group however a Poxwalker in ablative armour had crept alongside the door and now leapt through, grabbing onto the Enforcer patrolman's head it wrenched it back and buried it's teeth in his throat, tearing it out with a hissing cackle. Ava quickly reacted as did Grimm, and between them they battered the creature down. 

The closest Giant let loose a bellowing roar as it saw it's ally tear down the Enforcer, and this nightmarish figure, plus the death of his squad mate, proved too much for the Sergeant. Dropping his combat shotgun he sprinted into the darkness further into the rig. Ava also shook at seeing this apparition ofe everything she hated, though instead of fleeing entirely she dropped her blades and crashed into the fleeing Enforcer, chanting nonsense doggerel and psalms of protection in his face. He struggled free from her grasped and activated the next door, taking his luminator with him as it closed behind the fleeing Ulanti servant. Ava, disgusted by his cowardice and her own reaction in equal measure pulled herself together and drew her power knife.  

Seeing the failure of their small arms to have an effect Hans brought out his Plasma pistol and with some trepidation switched it to high power, seconds later the room's shadow were cast into bright relief as a searing ball of plasma scorched across the space between the Van Saar and his assailant. No sooner had Hans pulled the trigger however than red runes began to flash on the weapons digital readout, the failsafe mechanism he had paid over the odds for kicked in however and the power cell was dumped out before the weapon could fully overheat. This archeotech upgrade saved Hans a scalding but threw his aim off enough that the blazing missile skipped past his intended target and impacted into the left shoulder of the brute behind, exploding chemical vials and melting half the Goliath's face and arm. 

Grimm decided to bring out the big guns and rummaged in his webbing for the improvised explosive he had recovered from the ratskin ambush days ago. Setting the timer he hurled it into the room just as the extra illumination from the plasma shot half blinded him when his photovisor failed to compensate. He did have time however to make out the shape of the Goliaths facing them, and as he rubbed his eyes he yelled out;

'They're Stimmers! Fire in the Hole!'

The explosion knocked both the giants to one side, though with only superficial injuries for the most part. A more focussed blast than Grimm anticipated it tore apart the table it had landed under and sent fragments of wood and glass into the room and doorway. by sheer fluke none of the Venators party were injured, The closest Stimmer lumbered to it's feet again and advanced into the doorway to be met by a volley of fire from OT, Hans (who had switched back to his Suppression laser) and Elsu. It took OT's chainsword and Grimms hammer to finally put the beast down however, the sheer weight of fire it had suffered so far impeding it's own melee attacks and allowing Grimm to close in with the finishing blow. 

Through the muzzle smoke and smoldering bloated corpse Ava saw that the earlier plasma shot by Hans had exposed some of the second giants brain tissue, using the first brute as a springboard she leapt into the room and drove her power knife two handed toward the wound, only for teh beast to turn it's head at the last moment and cause the blow to glance off the metal plate sutured to it's skull. The nimble Escher rolled over it's shoulder and landed on her feet behind it, alive but far from her blades and armed only with her knife. 

With Ava now in the line of fire for the rest of the team all bar Elsu switched out to melee weapons and moved in to support her against the wildly swinging behemoth. The fungal infested behemoth managed to land a few blows turned aside by the Bounty hunters armour, but in return it was struck repeatedly by the Venators to little effect. Grimm retrieved Ava's swords and sent them spinning across the room where the Escher caught them with a deft cartwheel before returning to the fight. Elsu was moving towards the northern door to check on the sergeant when he noticed the first Poxstimmer has started to move again, shaking it's vast head and moving to stand. Only the faintest heat source anround it's head and neck had alerted teh Ratskin to the threat, and he wasted no time putting an aimed sniper round through the beasts skull, sending it slumping to the floor hopefully for good. 

Back in the room Ava was presenting a masterclass in swordfighting, each parry, counterstrike and thrust would have been greeted with vast praise from her tutors back home, but what would be a fatal strike to any normal human human seemed to be nothing but a flesh wound to this stimm-boosted pox walker. Likewise OT's chainsword and Hans stun baton could do nothing but aggravate the beast. Things got even more complicated when a wounded poxwalker, half burnt where Grimms blast had knocked it to the ground earlier, appeared behind Hans and managed to wound him with a strike to the head. Grimm immediately retaliated, stepping between the poxwalker and it's prey before splashing the creatures head across the wall with a single swing of his enormous hammer. 

Elsu had reached the next door, and pushing the flashing green rune it opened to show a vast space in semi-darkness, a metal gantry in front surrounding a deep pit that was mostly hidden from view. Directly next to the door a Skinny poxwalker in ragged uphihve garb had wrestled the unfortunate sergeant to the floor where he was barely fending it off as another apporached. Quickly closing the door again Elsu prepared his rifle, slapping the rune again he took a shot from the hip at the closest walker, striking it cleanly in teh side of the head and sending the corpse flipping over the gantries guardrail. As the door hissed closed again the ratskin heard the discharge of Hans Baton behind him, the Van Saars weapon finally sending enough volts into the brute to stun it enough for the whirling blades of Ava and OT to tear it down. The gigantic Goliath slumped to it's knees, and wasalready falling as Ava laned her stilletto blade into it's brain, taking no chances she upended her ChemSyth does straight into the creatures nervous system before standing atop it's corpse and declaiming the emperor's glory!

--- End of session 11 --- 

OT, Grimm, Ava and Hans investigated the berserker corpses in the gambling room before they were reminded of the still running fight by Elsu's shot through the doorway. The shot was powerful enough to knock the creature completely off the gantry where it crashed into the darkness beyond with a crunch of breaking bones.

Recovering his wits the sergeant quickly dived behind Elsu, grabbing his shotgun as he rolled through. Seeing more creatures moving through the shadows Elsu closed the door again and waited for his teammates to arrive. As he looked back to see if they were close he noticed the Enforcer with teh long rifle start to regain it's feet. No sooner had the scout let out a warning than Ava had leapt through the door and impaled the enforcers head on her stilletto blade. Unfortunately this happened right in fornt of the sergeant who immediately hurled abuse at the escher and moved to use his personal medipack on his subordinate, knocking Ava's sword to the ground beginning to pry the mask off. This enraged the fanatical Ava who drove her knee into the officers faceplate, knocking him flying and taking the mask of teh dead soldier with it. 

This revealed the ruined face of the second enforcer, which stopped Grimm and Elsu in their tracks as they recognised it as the face of the noble they were here to save. questioning the Sarge he revealed that the enforcer was in fact a 'mirror mask' a bodyguard genetically desgined to match it's ward perfectly, down to the wargear it carried under it's armour. Another exchange of words with Ava led to the escher kicking him again, this time sending him sprawling into the corner of the room where the disembodied head Grimm had hurled earlier began to snap at him. With an accuracy so far unseen from the enforcer he popped the ghoulish head with abrace of shots from his combat shotgun, before Hans pointed out that the same deathly reanimation that had consumed the head would have taken his teammate had Ava not intervened. Realining that the venators were right, the officer stood up and began scrabbling around the corpses wargear as the Venators gathered around the door. 

Moving up and preparing their assault the venators could hear increasing scrabbling beyond the bulkhead, then once they were all assembled Hans activated the door rune. 

As the door hissed open their view into the dimly lit room was obscured by two figures, one a female uphiver in tattered finery, the other a third hulking Goliath. This behemoth's right arm had been replaced by a bionic with an enormous set of pnuematic clamps instead of a hand which lunged towards the group. Ava nimbly leapt aside and dodged between the two, carving ruin into the females abdomen with her chainsword as she passed, dragging it's intestines out into the air. Grimm droped low and charged the decaying goliath stimmer, hoping to force it back into the pit, the two muscled monsters met and the Venator managed to push the beast back several feet before it braced against him and they began to wrestle for control. Seeing Grimms exposed back the noble poxwalker attempted to leap on him, but as it's drooling mouth swung down it encountered Hans Stun baton, and as it clamped it's teeth closed the energy of the baton discharged, causing the poxwalkers head to burst into flames internally, slumping to the ground as it did so. 

Without clear shots into the brawl Elsu and OT had to move up, the Ratskin to a support position and the Orlock drawing his chainswords and hacking at the Stimmer over his Goliath ally. The Poxed Berserker for his part reached his gargantuan arms around Grimm and picked him up, using the added strength of it's pnuematic arm to hurl the Goliath into the darkness to one side of the Gantry. As Grimm landed roughly he was immediately swarmed by four more poxed gamblers and security guards, though between his inhuman toughness and furnace plate he managed to avoid any serious injury in the pile up of decayed fleesh and scrabbling claws.

The sergeant moved up to the door, passing Elsu some long rifle ammunition with a quiet 'thankyou', and as his and Hans flashlights spread over the room they began to see it's true dimensions. Two massive gantries flanked a pit at least 20 feet deep, surrounding this pit and extending from the gantries flanks were three tiers of freshly hardened plascrete seating with steps between them.taking this new view with the obvious pit-fighter gear of the undead goliaths led the Venators to the conclusion this had been a fighting pit set up for the patrons of the casino to gamble on. Hans moved in and took a swing at the Stimmer sending sparks trhough it's slabs of flesh. Another noble came from the shadows behind the van saar and jumped on his back, only to be driven off by a flurry of baton strikes. Grimm swung his hammer in a great arc to drive his attackers back, and after drawing his stub gun managed to inflict grievous wounds on several of his attackers, though in return he took a heavy hit to his head. Dodging the huge clamps as they swung at his head OT was caught off guard by the Stimmers other massive fist, the studded glove cracking into his ribs and sending him flying back through the doorway to collide with Elsu, knocking Both Venators from their feet. 

This unfortunate collision was a blessing in disguise for the ratskin, who noticed from his prone position that the straps holding the lower part of the beasts thick furnace plate had come loose, and every time it lunged forward the plate swung out exposing it's naked flesh. With reactions bred from a lifetime fighting for survival in the depths of the hive Elsu smoothly aimed his long rifle whilst lying his back, and as the plate swung out he fired. The shot was perfectly aimed, punching up into the beasts ribs and blowing out through his heart, lung and shoulder blade behind. with one last anguished hiss the hulking pit fighter folded up on itself and collapsed to the floor.

The defeat of the Berserker proved to be a turning point in the fight, and as Ava raced across to aide Grimm Hans finally overpowered his own attacker with his stun baton crushing it's skull. Between the Power Knife and Chainsaw blades of the Escher and the Pulverising blows of Grimms hammer the remaining poxwalkers in the stalls were soon torn apart. The Sergeant helped Elsu to his feet and advanced into teh room with his scanner. Elsu himself peered over the edge of the pit to see scattered corpses, as well as the pox-ridden scummer he had knocked over the edge, who was scrabbling at the gantries legs trying to reach them. Planting his last round into the top of the walker's spine through it's brain ended it's movement, and as Elsu went to reload he noticed the berserker twicthing as it started to reanimate. The ratskins warning came in plenty of time though, and Hans repeatedly beat the down monsters skull until it smashed through, ichor and brain matter leaking through the gantry. 

The immediate fight over, the sergeant slumped agiant the railing and turned to the Venators, indicating his scanner. 

'I thinkI know where he is, but I understand I can't do this without your help. You are clearly competent at what you do, if you help me delivered the young lord safely I will ensure you get the full bounty regardless of my teams involvement.'  

Although Hans disputed that they ever weren't getting the full bounty, them team agreed if only to speed things up. Elsu and Grimm noticed a new addition to the Sergeants wargear, a polished silver gorget hanging from his belt. when pressed he revealed it was the mirror masks refractor field, to be delivered to Jevreyson when they meet.

Following the sergeants lead they moved clockwise round the arena to the small door in the west. Through the plexiglass windows to the north they could see a room of well dressed poxwalkers surrounded by luxury clawing at the glass. They also spotted two smaller doors in the base of the arena, leading out of the combat floor itself. The doors beside them slid apart as the Enforcer activated the door rune, revealing a glass saloon door on the other side, swinging it open the group found themselves in a richly decorated room reminscent of a upper hive city sporting bar. 

The bar itself ran along the far wall, and several more poxwalkers stood amongst the broken tables and chairs lit by two massive pict-screens flickering inone corner. behind the bar a brightly lit doorway allowed a glimpse through to another room full of cogitators and comms screens. By now their practice clearing rooms of the plagued victims had become almost instinct for the Venators and it took them little time to clear the room, blotgun, long rifle and flechette shells tearing apart the decorations as Ava's blades sang (at one point she literally tore a walker apart with the fury of her assault) and Hans headshots dropped anything that tried to flank her. The final poxwalker was finished off by the enforcer sergeant after grimm grabbed the beast and slammed it through a nearby table.

Investigating the rooms, Hans, Grimm and the sergeant turned their attention to the Cogitators in the back room whilst OT patched upsome of the groups more serious injuries. The pictscreens in the room showed various angles of what looked like some sort of ornamental garden, though only Grimm recognised it as such from some insight buried deep in his Memory-Slug. Scattered throughout the maze of hedges and wiry bushed were more of the decaying walkers, as well as some unidentifiable shadows that could be berserkers. Switching views around the room Hans caught a flash of movement in one pictcaster, and grabbed control of it to pan it to the left where they could see what looked like an old furnace bunker at the end of the garden. attacking it were a swarm of poxwalkers, and sporadic firepower was spraying out of the vision slits in the bunkers exterior. At the same time on another scren Grimm spotted the access to the garden, and Elsu identified both where it was (back in the first room they entered) as well as where they were in relation to it. 

Hans punched a few more commands into the cogitator, and managed to bring up a pict view from inside the bunker. 4 living humans were visible inside the cramped room. the first, a battered looking medicae priest, sat in the corner, head in his arms and mechadendrites laying limp on the floor. The secodn was a heavyset enforcer in the same brown layered flak armour as the poxwalkers they had encountered in several rooms, firing a stub pistol out the door hatch. The final two occupants were both garbed in the fine robes of uphive nobles, a male and female engaged in what looked like a screaming match though without sound it was hard to be sure. The female slapped the male hard enough across the face that he briefly turned to face the camera, and as Hans froze the image they could clearly see in the light of the lumens the face of Jevreyson Ulanti, alive and kicking.

 - end of session 12 - 

Having sighted their target at last teh Venators began discussing various plans to get to him, all the while Elsu was working with the Sergeant to match a schematic he had pulled up on an older cogitator that seemed part of the original refinery to the views on the scurity picts. s well as a large locked off lower floor beneath the main casino they spotted two rooms off the arena, one with gladiator gear in it, the other set up to hold animals. They also managed a better look in the glass room above the arena which was some sort of VIP restaraunt, complete with it's own kitchen. One room that caught their eye with potential gains was the old vault, which had been converted into a makeshift lapdancing club, and through the spinning neon lights and diskotech ball the glitter of Credits could be seen strewn across the floor. 

Whilst in the older cogitator the sergeant also pulled up the schematics for the door down to the 'live workfloor', from the records it looked like the rig was a promethium refinery of a sort and the larger concret space below was designed so that indentured workers could refine the volatile promethium 'skim' from the sump without risking explosive damage to the rest of the rig This meant the heavily reinforced bulkhead down to this workspace had it's own security procedures, it could only be opened by a supervisor or imperial agent with a rating of magenta+, and once open it would automatically close after 15 minutes it would automatically close. it could only be opened from the outside. 

The group discussed who could stay behind to man the cameras and operate the door, before Hans and Grimm came up with the idea of using the camera network inside the chamber to hack though back to the older cogitator and control the system remotely. Testing this theory on a camera back in the arena it seemed plausible, and after ripping cabling out of one of the large pict screens in the bar to hardwire the two systems directly in the control room they managed to open the door using Hans dataslate. Having resolved the issue of entry, they began to make their way back through the rig. Although OT was interested in moving down and securing some of the larger gladiatorial gear for some extra profit, teh sheer number of 'corpses' in the arean itself was enough to dissuade the rest from letting him go, deciding instead to raid the lapdancing club for the creds there. Moving through the corridors they had previously cleared Ava took the precaution of decapitating/destroying the brain of every corpse they passed, just to be sure. 

As they arrived in the gambling den where they had fought the two berserkers they prepared to entice the half a dozen poxwalkers in the vault to the gap in the massive partly ajar door.  Once in position they began pouring a barrage of fire through the gap, offsetting the creatures inhuman resilience with sheer weight of fire and using the terrain to their advantage. Only when a third scantily clad dancer appeared did things begin to take a turn for the worse, dressed in an obscene parody of a saint of the orders sororitas, the infected girl began to claw at the fighters through the doorway. As soon as Ava saw this she went into a zealous rage, and forced herself into the gap to sttack the heretic with her twin blades. Completely blocking any shots from her allies Ava crazed swings downed two more walkers before she finally caught her target, with a swift combination of blows from her power knife and chainsowrd she cut her enemy down. 

As Hans activated the door opening sequence and the heavy vault door began to grind ponderously inwards Ava continued her assault, diving through the gap to viciously pound the already dead form's head and torso into unrecognisable gore before coming to her senses. The Venators quickly grabbed as much as they could from the room, including a finely wrought Needle pistol one of the poxed nobles had been wearing. 

Once they were sure they had grabbed everything they could find of value they finished trekking through the darkened hulk to the blast door that lead down to the 'maze' where their quarry was trapped. staring out into the darkness their luminators reflected back off what seemed like a forest of small mirrors deep beneath them.. 

 - end of session 13 -  

Moving down the ladder into the enormous factory floor, the Venators panned their lumins across the maze of Steelvine around them, reflections of the light piercing the gloom in all directions but making it increasingly hard to focus. The lack of lighting worrying him, Hans booted up his connection to the control room above on his dataslate. Although he did manage to find the cameras he found before, the lighting controls seemed independent. One thing he did notice was that the Cameras were only half installed, most had no motor functions yet and there were mounts for at least a dozen more across the walls than had been fitted. OT suggested that this could mean they were interrupted before they could finish, a suggestion made more likely by the lumbering shapes they could see wandering the maze on Hans cameras. Elsu added his own intelligence as he swept the maze with his heat scope, picking up multiple targets, including one in the distance that his keen ears could pick up giving off the sounds of a piston firing repeatedly.  

Slowly advancing into the bladed labyrinth the venators encountered their first poxwalkers, although these were easily dispatched by the blades and firearms of the team the noise this caused seem to enliven the rest scattered throughout the factory floor. Whilst finishing the corpses off OT and Ava both noticed that where the walkers were dressed in hiver clothing they were similar in speed and resilience to those already encountered, but a new type of infected had appeared, these all drudges dressed in identical brown fatigues. Where the enemies in the casino still looked largely human, with the odd green tinge of veiny protrusion, these walkers were covered in green fungus and leafy growthm and many had an additional bulb breaching one of their shoulders, with flowery petals beginning to protrude. Slower and easier to slay than the other walkers they could be dealt with quickly, though they released a much larger cloud of spores when slain than those upstairs had. another advantage the Venators had found was the vine itself, any 'living' thing that fell into it was attacked immediately, and if they could not escape fast enough they were engulfed and dragged into the hedges for later digestion. The team made good use of this by knocking back enemies with solid shells and heavy melee attacks, trapping them in the vines and allowing the Venators to pass. 

Just as they finished navigating their first path across the factorum to the opposing wall, the Venators came across something much more dangerous than they had encountered so far. A goliath forge boss, having succumbed to the pox, was partially trapped in the vines. His massive from was as distended and muscled as the berserkers encountered near the arena, but the fancy armour plates made him much more resistant to damage. Tearing itself free of the steelvine caused significant damage to the giant, slowing him enough that a volley of fire from Elsu, OT and Hans pushed him further back into the hedge, where Grimm finished him off by kicking his former housemate into it for good. More of the slower. advanced age walkers were drawn to this engagement, and it took the firepower of most of the team to bring them down. Whilst this happened OT was taking out the enemies on the floor, and he noticed sometihng just inside the reach of the vines, on closer inspection the golden gleam appeared to be a heavily customised combi pistol, undoubtedly the Forge Boss's judging by it's size. after a little wiggling he managed to grab it, but as he withdrew his arm a leaf lashed out and sliced past his armour into his skin, causing him to bleed heavily and the vines around him to react. He quickly rolled away with his prize in hand, just in time to escape the grasping steelvine. Around this time the rest of the team noticed hat any missed las shots had a tendency to ricochet of the polished leaves and bounce around the maze in a manner that could be dangerous.  

Moving further on the venators found their stocks of hard rounds depleting quickly, although easier to kill than their younger counterparts the aged poxwalkers still took an enormous amount of damage to drop, and with the occasional less mutated casino goer or even berserker hid amongst the maze the going became a slow, methodical sweep  of every corner and dead end for the Venators safety. Elsu hissed to let the group know that they were approaching the larger heat signal he had spotted earlier, and now they could all hear the piston firing. As they rounded a corner they could see in their stab-lights the source, a Van saar armour suit, probably of someone high ranking as it had an inbuilt suspensor rig, servo arm and what appeared to be a very basic machine spirit. The suit was stuck in the steelvine, though from the lack of head and vast amount of vines punching into the soft areas the wearer had long since passed. The Servo arm was attempting to dig itself out of the entangling vines, though with it's restricted reach it could only clear the top half of the armour, which was constantly being reclaimed by vines from the lower half.  

As Elsu first approached the servo arms rudimentary maachine spirit noticed him, and a pistol barrel extended from within it, aimed at the Ratskins head. Elsu backed off, and after a quick discussion Hans advanced open handed. The spirit seemed to recognise his armour, allowing him to close where he shut it down for now, with the intention of taking it out later. opening the suit a flood of sludge and decomposing plantmatter seeped out, indicating the suit would need a good deal of cleaning before it could be used again. Ava meanwhile had spotted some blood red roses growing amongst the steelvine, and remembering what Elsu said when they first found the leaf blade on the juve, she quickly realised these must be the valuable steelvine blossom the ratskin had mentioned. deftly using her power knife to remove them, the escher carefully places them in her satchel. More walkers blocked the next junctions requiring even more ammunition spent, but after encountering a final musclebound Goliath which they brought down with a well planned gunline and Elsu's headshot, the group managed to reach the point where the glittering walls gave way to grey, slatted plascrete. Quietly sneaking alongside it Hans risked a peek though the slats with his luminator, and jumped back as he saw dozens of eyes on the other side of the wall, patiently stood in what looked like a cage. Elsu confirmed with his scope that there were more than 80 faint heat signatures inside the concreted off area, as well as fencing and even electrified wires.

Debating the pro's and con's of simply opening up and dropping the creatures while they were hemmed in, the group eventually decided to move along until they came to a thin corridor leading down the side of the pens.  a faint light in this area allowed Ava on point to notice that the door to the closest pen had been broken open, and the few remaining walkers contained within were free to escape into the Venators path...  

---end of session 14---

Seizing the initiative, Grog and Ava charged into the pen, engaging the closest poxwalkers (again the fatigued, flowering drudges) as Elsu and Hans poured fire in through the plascrete slats. Quickly eradicating the threat in this pen the Goliath and Escher now had a chance to appreciate the truly massive horde of walkers in the second and third pens as they strained against the fencing separating them. At the end of the thin path the rest of the team found a piled collection of administratum shipping containers. The bottom two were empty, but the container piled atop them had wires leading to a from it, so Hans and the SGT began to climb up to investigate it. (OT and Elsu began to climb too, but they simply wanted to gain a shooting point from the top of the crate.)

Unimpressed by the rudimentary technology in the makeshift office they found inside the upper crate, Hans continued to climb up and join the others. the Sergeant meanwhile continued to tinker with the machinery, and eventually discovered both the controls for the cameras motion impellers, and (much later, after most of the action had ended) the lights. From their newly attained firing position the three ranged Venators had a commanding view of the next section of maze, almost all the way to their objective in the north corner. a number of targets presented themselves at this point, some dressed as gaudy casino guests, others the drudges seen in the pens. A barrage of sustained fire from the container hammered into every visible enemy, and despite the resilience of the poxed scum they all fell under the heavy fire. (Eventually, one in particular seemed to shrug off almost every hit)

Meanwhile  Ava and Grimm had flanked the crates into another section of maze where they took great delight in crushing and eviscerating everything they could find without the restrictions of friends in the killzone. Finding a third rose Ava collected it, and they made it into the long hedge bordered path beneath the crates just as the snipers dropped down beside them. Even as the two groups rejoined more walkers began pouring into the end of the path, most noteworthy of these being a very well-dressed up-hiver in a porcelain mask and another berserk pit fighter trapped in the vines, blocking the end of the hedge. The ranged firepower of the group was unable to bring these two down as it dealt with other enemies attacking from the flank and rear, and Ava and Grimm moved in to engage. 

Since his elavated position earlier Elsu's sense of direction had kicked in, and he had a pretty good idea of the layout of the maze ahead. seeking to outflank his enemies he started to look for a path through the hedge itself. he found one that he could barely fit through, although he would probably take some cuts doing so, and was just considering his options when a savage Orlock poxwalker slammed into the far side of his shortcut, pushing itself through to attack him. OT responded with a volley of bolt shells that knocked the creature back, only for it to surge forwards agin, arms stretching twoards the Ratskin scout. each step the walker took into the vine tunnel seem to cause more and more damage to it, with limbs sliced and chunks of flesh left behind, eventually the walker simply stopped, hanging in the hedge, disected by the razor sharp leaves as it pushed into them. Elsu stared at the rotted claws just inched from his face and decided shortcuts weren't for him after all.  

Tearing itself free of it's entangling vines, The pit fighter met Grimm head on, after exchanging blows that would have smashed a normal human aside, Grimm's defence slipped and with a sickening crack one of the berserkers armoured fists drove into his right arm, snapping bone and pulverising muscle. Knocked back and fell over Ava, who had been trying to leap over him to attack. With both melee fighters down the rest of the team poured more fire into the behemoth in the vines, and though they drove it back they could not kill it. Ava stepped into the breach, and despite taking a hammering from the Goliath monstrosity at every turn was only knocked away from it, her unshakeable faith in the emperor once again leaving her completely unharmed. Taking careful aim Elsu landed a placed shot into the beasts left shoulder, spinning it round where it collided with a walker behind it, knocking both of them into the hedge where the leaves and thorns began tearing into them again. Ava had engaged the foppish poxwalker, and though it struck true a flash of light deflected the blow, drawing his shock baton Hans waded in and between them they smashed the spyrer down, after which Hans retrieved a conversion field from the corpse. In the silence that followed the demise of the berserker and his friends the group reloaded their weapons from their rapidly depleting supply, in the distance the sounds of poxwalker clicking steadily decreased until with the sound of a falling corpse somewhere ahead everything went quiet. (on the dataslate the SGT pointed out that the armoured figure in the bunker had stopped firing through the window, and had taken instead to grasping the arms of the walkers reaching in and stabbing them repeatedly with his combat knife.) 

With the lights on and no sign of enemies ahead, the Venators could move more swiftly, after a few more twists and turns they found their objective- the sealed 'safe room' at the heart of the maze. around the door lay more than a dozen poxwalker corpses, all killed it seemed by a needle pistol at close range. as the Venators reached the door they heard a piercing female voice echo from within. 

"Oh look Jevry, some REAL men are here at last!"

---end of session 15---

After a brief discussion with the inhabitants of the safe room, they were revealed to be Jevryson, his up-hive lover Elliana Ran-Lo, Jaskon, one of the casino's hired security guards and Magos Brier, the 'Poxhandler' responsible for bringing the original poxwalkers for the entertainment. It was during this discussion that the Venators realised that a casino probably had a safe, and that they had not yet found it... Jaskon filled the Venators in on the incident that had led to them becoming trapped. 

''I was hired along with my team to provide security for this damn show, it was a pretty big job so of course we said yes. Supposed to be guarding a casino's profits from a bunch of drunken feth-head nobles and wasted gamblers, easy money. The this idiot arrives *smacks Magos* With a container full of infected and I find out that the Maze they spent two weeks growing and building was for some 'live' entertainment. fething brilliant idea that, letting poxed drudgers loose in a crowded hive with one exit point. anyway it's all going smoothly regardless of that little surprise. Drinks are flowing, money is being lost hand over fist and the owners even managed to get a little side money going letting nobles pay to 'run the maze' with an escort, no poxed obviously. As ranking security I get tapped to escort the Spire-child here and his lady down for what I can only assume was going to be some sort of intimate encounter in the safe room, until weasel-face shet-stain here *thumps Magos again*  comes screaming in, apparently one of his fething team was infected, and before they went full mushroomhead they opened one of the gates to the holding pens. The poxed flooded the maze and even managed to get out into the Casino, all I could do to keep the spyrelings safe was slam the fething safehouse door and pray to the emperor for rescue. almost gave up before we heard you over the comms. no ammo left between us and dozens of the bastards still out there trying to get in...'  

The Venators quickly established that they were leading the rescue and that the survivors should do as they are ordered, Jaskon and Elliana quickly agreed but after some pushback from Jevry and the Magos slightly harsher words were had with them. The magos in particular seemed keen to collect some samples before they moved out, which the team were dead set against. 

Other than some petty sniping between the two nobles the first part of the jpurney was pretty quiet, the group moved back through the  maze to the holding pens without incident. Once the storage containers containing the tech equipment were reached however the Magos attempted to head off on his own and was intercepted and convinced not to to anything stupid by Hans. The pair caught up with the main group as they headed back into the steelvine after the holding pens, they arrived just in time to see Jevry and Ulanti having a full on marital row with the remaining Venators watching. With a final insult Elliana snatched an elaborate ring from her finger and hurled it at Jevry, who screamed and threw himself flat at it sailed over him. 

The ring span almost in slow motion, the light from the glittering steel leaves refracting off the faceted jewels and  burnished gold. as it bounced off the plas-crete floor. On the second bounce one gem began to shine brighter than the rest, a glow that had nothing to do with the rigs lighting or the lumins of the Venator team. A lance of energy blazed out of the gem and carved a swathe of vines from the nearest bush, as it continued to spin the beam pulverised everything it touched, carved great chunks from the walls of the holding pen and vines around it, only the hardened exterior walls managing to resist the powered beam. By pure fluke the venators and their wards avoided the blast, but unfortunately the lone security guard was stood directly in it's path. Carving through his torso as easily as it wrecked the building around him, Jaskon fell to the ground in several neatly sliced lumps before the eyes of the stunned nobles. Jevry spoke into the silence,

'That belonged to my great grandmother... Sergeant Valiian, recover the ring. and the needlepistol I loaned that scruffy security guard while you are at it.'

No sooner had the Enforcer sergeant moved up to collect the items than a loud rumble began to emanate from the direction of the pens. The rumbling increased as with the shriek of twisting metal an entire section of the holding walls gave way, collapsing into the maze behind the party. as The Enforcer collected the  ring and pistol (which were then taken from him by Elliana) the distinctive hissing and clicking of pox walkers began to sound from the newly exposed cavity, and the hundreds strong horde of infected drudgers, gamblers and pit fighters that had previously been trapped inside began to swarm towards the Venator team. 

The next few minutes were a confusing mess of violence and speed, The Ventaors releasing a single volley into the oncoming crowd before turning and fleeing into the maze. When Hans stopped to  snatch the Van Saar rig as he passed the Magos used the opportunity to make a run for it, but he barely went ten paces before a wave of poxwalkers crashed through a vine wall beside him and he was engulfed- a mercy shot from Elsu silenced him agonised screams.  The carnage continued further into the maze as the team sought to exit, the living hampered by the deadly hedge blades but the Poxed simply crushing against them until sheer weight of bodies collapsed the vine and they swarmed over the dismembered remains of those at the front. Hans rigged a power pack to blow and sent it hurtling into the mass, blasting dozens of walkers apart, Further on Elsu aded his own spin by using a spare laspistol and the refleting power of the vines to create a disco ball of laser energy, dropping even more undead enemies. Ava and Grimm took the lead, using hit and run tactics to drive any that appeared ahead of the fleeing group off, and resorting to bursts of lasgun and shotgun fire to slow down the onrushing horde. 
OT , the Sergent and Elliana added their fire when they could, the noble proving adept with the needle pistol reclaimed from the guards corpse. Only Jevry was unwilling to fight, almost having to be dragged along by OT or Hans at several points. 

Eventually the team reached the bottom of the ladder just as their ammunition reserves were beginning to look low, and scampering up Hans unlocked the door. the survivors scrambled through before Grimm smashed on of the pistons, dropping the bulkhead and blocking the passageway, probably permanently. 

---end of session 16---

 Taking some time to gather themselves and treat the injuries they suffered fleeing from the poxed horde, The Venators decided they wanted to have one last crack at finding the safe. Pulling up the plans for the rig from its archive Elsu figured that the only place secure enough to keep a safe that they had not already visited was the kitchen beyond the VIP lounge pas the amphitheatre. 

after using the door to the VIP lounge as cover and blasting the poxed creatures within, the Venators gained access to the kitchen area and did indeed find a safe (after an encounter with an even more obesely deformed poxwalker in the form of the previous chef) and managed to open it, finding several hundred credits and documents within. 

Journeying back to the Enforcers vehicle the group managed to avoid any unexpected encounters . between Ava and the Enforcer sergeant the two nobles were kept from murdering each other, and they drove back to the Hollows without further incident. 

Upon arriving at the hollows  the 

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