Sorry for the incredibly delayed write-up
Hot pursuit down cold, dark corridors of the Righteous Path! Rex, Sigmund and Talon regroup outside the entrance way of the Righteous Path. On the icy asteroid surface they can see the ruins of a battle servitor, with clear footprints indicating where their assailants had come from. Sadly dead at their posts, were two of the armsmen who had been left in place – or what remained of them, at least. To the left was a spaecsuited figure riddled with bullets, while to the right all that remained of the armsman were his boots – the rest of him a shadow of ash on the hull of the Righteous Path, along with the obvious signs of a plasma explosion. Communicating with Armid Drays, stationed at the comm in the Guncutter, they learned that the signs of another spacecraft could be detected powering up on the asteroid. In addition, the bridge crew on the Harbinger of Glory were reporting that a frigate class vessel had come into detection range and was closing. After a frenzied debate, Talon was posted to guard the entrance to the Righteous Path, in order to maintain a line of communication and to keep a watch in case there was a trick of some kind. Rex and Sigmund raced to the Guncutter, with the intention of taking off and blasting Roboute Loblaw from the sky.
Reaching the Guncutter, Armid Drays had already begun the pre-flight checks, and begun to warm up the engines. Sigmund ran to the controls of the Guncutter’s two twin-linked heavy bolter turrets, while Rex took his place behind the controls, ready to make use of the pilot-operated Long-barrelled Autocannons. Lifting off with well-practised ease, Rex began to loop the Guncutter over the asteroids surface in order to intercept what appeared to be an Aquila Lander heading at maximum speed away from the Righteous Path and the Harbinger of Glory. Manoeuvring the bulky Guncutter as if it were a fighter craft, Rex lined up behind the Lander, holding the craft steady while he brushed his fingers over the firing controls. Sigmund, shouting oaths to the Emperor as his bolt shells sprayed into the into darkness of space, unable to land hits upon the Lander. Rex, however, stitched the Lander through with the autoshells causing it to explode, turning the craft into a raging fireball.
On the dusty bridge of the Righteous Path, Magos Bertha had finished communing with the ancient cogitator of the ship, bending its limited powers to her will and shutting down the forcefield that prevented the Explorers access to the cargo decks. Elorn and the Lady-Captain bundled the Lady Ash onto the bridge, thinking to take some time to question her – particularly as news was relayed to them via Talon that a frigate-class vessel was closing on the Harbinger of Glory. With a deft play of “Good Arbite, Bad Arbite” (with Bertha standing, impassively) the Lady Ash was encouraged to open up (via her psychic powers). She shared with them how her upbringing had been less than pleasant and that while the discipline and brutality had prevented her powers from overwhelming her she escaped the moment that Hadarak Fel gave her that opportunity. She also shared that he is not a man to be trifled with, and that he knows the exact value of his associates and will not expend more resources to save them than he thinks they are worth. The example in point – he would not trade the rumoured treasures of the Righteous Path for the return of Lady Ash. Lady Ash was also adamant that despite this, her devotion to him was unwavering. Though the Lady-Captain was very friendly, and in another life…
While this was going on, Talon interrupted to update everyone on the events outside and the approaching frigate. They quickly coordinated a pick-up by Rex, and headed back to the Harbinger of Glory at top speed.
On reaching the bridge, communications with the approaching ship were immediately established. The jovial visage of Hadarak Fel appeared on a viewscreen. He was seated upon an ostentatious Captain’s throne, with many controls built in, and a xeno-hide cloak draped over the back. Around him, the bridge crew of the Fel Hand seemed in high spirits as they worked coolly and efficiently.
“Greetings to you, Lady-Captain Aurora Black! Good to see Lady Ash is well!”
Suddenly noticing that they had brought a powerful psyker to the bridge of their ship, the Lady-Captain quickly motioned for Lady Ash to be escorted away.
Hadarak Fel, approaching in his ship the Fel Hand, attempted to engage the Explorers in a negotiation – their safety for relinquishing their rights to any treasure. Hadarak was making no more headway than his servant Roboute had done earlier. However, rather than some mere servitors, Hadarak had the vast power of his ship to call upon. Leaning to the side, he gave the order to fire upon the Harbinger of Glory.
As the great Macro-cannons upon the Fel Hand began to fire, pre-targeted as they were, Hadarak made light conversation with the Explorers of the Harbinger of Glory. Elorn attempted to threaten him, Sigmund cursed his soul, and the Lady-Captain rolled her eyes at Hadarak’s unwitty banter. However, as the sensor screen tracked the macro-cannon fire heading towards them, the façades of calm were beginning to crack. With well-practised ease, just as the shells would impact upon the shields of the Harbinger of Glory, Fel gave the order to fire the Titanforge Lance. While the macro-cannon shells had taken many minutes to traverse the empty void, the vast power of the lance screamed across the space at the speed of light, ready to melt through the Harbinger of Glory’s armour and crack its hull in two. However, the macro-cannon volley had missed its target, so the lance impacted the intact void shields of the Harbinger of Glory – the vast power still shook the ship from stem to stern but they ship was safe. Hadarak cursed, and as he leant to give more orders, Elorn distracted him – claiming to be a relative of an old friend of his.
While Hadarak was distracted, the Explorers leapt into action. Magos Bertha got onto the vox to command her tech-crews to aid the machine spirits of the ship’s cogitator, which would then better allow Talon to lock on to the Fel Hand. Meanwhile, Sigmund broadcast his voice across the gunnery decks, exhorting them to put their backs into their work. Finally, filled with cold determination and anger at Hadarak’s presumptive behaviour, the Lady-Captain ordered Talon to open fire. With his instictive grasp of space ballistics, Talon relayed his targeting orders to the gunnery crew. Despite all the crew’s best efforts, the salvo missed the Fel Hand completely!
The Fel Hand had not been idle, its next volley of macro-cannon fire already closing on the Harbinger of Glory. This time, Hadarak waited until his sensors registered a hit against the void shields of the Harbinger of Glory before giving the order to fire the great lance turret. The star-energy of the lance bridged the gap between the ships instantly. Without shields to stop it, and with its energies so furious that armour did nothing, it burned a hole completely through the Harbinger of Glory, killing over a thousand crew instantly, with hundreds more suddenly finding themselves without air or trapped in sealed compartments. Word quickly spread through the crew bringing terror to the hearts of many, and worry to those who had friends or family on the affected decks. The brutal assault left one of the macro-cannon batteries without power, the gunnery crew floating helplessly, awaiting salvation.
With Rex Stormgard at the controls, the Harbinger of Glory came about, trying to get out of the arc of fire of the Fel Hand’s lance. Magos Bertha directed the repair crews, bringing the macro-cannons back online (though it was later learned that many died from falls as gravity returned) Elorn found herself on the shipwide vox, telling the crew that they had not been seriously damaged and that victory would come soon. The crew, not seeing the red flashing readouts the bridge crew could see, began to calm.
Talon Kyridas then showed his true worth, as a masterful display of gunnery raked the Fel Hand, causing considerable damage, blasting compartments, and holing the ship in several places, which vented the lance battery controls into space.
Seeing his terror-weapon temporarily disabled, while auxiliary crew rushed to replace those that had not been wearing their voidsuits, Hadarak thought it best to attempt to out range the Harbinger of Glory. Turning his attention back to the vox-link with the Lady-Captain, he attempted to offer some conciliatory praise and offer a truce, claiming that the Harbinger of glory had fairly won the exchange. Aurora Black was initially accepting, agreeing to the stand-down provided that Hadarak Fel stands his ship down and transfers his captain’s chair to the Harbinger of Glory as a prize. While Hadarak agrees to this, the Lady-Captain quickly sees through his attempts to delay.
Following behind the Fel Hand, the Harbinger of Glory fires again, inflicting enough damage to cripple the ship, halving its speed.
Feeling betrayed (despite himself attempting a deception) Hadarak orders his ship into a dense part of the asteroid field – he had no doubt hoped that he would be able to use the cover of the densely packed asteroids to avoid any further damage. Whether Hadarak himself was beginning to crack, or one of his crewman made the mistake, the piloting of the Fel Hand was not up to the task and the Fel Hand soon collides with a vast ice rock. The impact knocks out systems across the ship, plunging most components into darkness, as tech-sprites wreak havoc. In his armoured command bridge, Hadarak was unaffected but realises that he can resist no more, without an unconscionable slaughter of his crewmen.
On 6.488.816.M41 Hadarak Fel surrendered himself and his ship to the Lady-Captain Aurora Black.