Given the disaster following the Captains date, we set out from Echidna at best speed on our way to rescue the beleaguered explorator vessel Golden Phoenix.
The Warp journey allowed me to get in some quality study time with our newest crew-member Magos Glorithia Hax, a skilled researcher and Xeno Linguist for the Mechanus, apparently held back due to her preference for gene-spliced biological rather than cybernetic modifications. Her tales of distant worlds and hidden tombs was intriguing and she is pursuing her own investigations, having set up shop in the observation dome library. I've given her access to our records of our discoveries so far and she seems quite enthralled. In exchange, she has been willing to teach me a little bit of what she knows, as long as I don't mind learning it in nearly random fragments. So I spent a large portion of the voyage in the library. She was kind enough to disassemble a hand-Auspex for me and show me many of its secrets and rituals as well as teaching me a few useful phrases of the "Kroot" language (A mercenary Xenos).
About two days into the journey I got a call from Gears. Apparently he received a com-call from a missing engineseer who worked in the Vitae life support systems. I agreed to come down to assist, knowing that missing people on a ship never bodes well.
When we reached life support the area was oddly quiet. A strange mist rolled out of a side passage and within we found the frozen corpse of a voidsman. Although we suspected a coolant leak, it was clear that there were no clear leaks and I was warned not to use my bolt pistol or power blade for fear of a leaking oxygen container. We summoned Evgeny Valentin for fear that this was not a natural death.
The Gellar field had apparently destabilised, so I asked Gears to go back and get it under control before there was a more serious breach, whilst myself and Acolyte Valentin continued to search for the source of the disturbance. We finally found Gears's missing Engineseer, welded frozen to a bulkhead near a distribution fan.
Then the Demon struck, a barely corporeal creature made of ice and death. Evgene and I tried to call for support, but the demon was on us and security would be minutes away at best. I'm not ashamed to admit I was petrified, but survival instinct took over and we poured fire on the beast. My fire was the metaphorical fire of a bolt pistol, whilst Evgeny's was rather more literal, although after a few moments he realised that it was having little effect and switched to a power-hammer.
We managed to dissipate it. although I was quite badly injured and needed to spend nearly a week in bandages recovering, although for most of that I was able to spend it once again in the Library in a pleasant convalescence.
Anyway nearly a week later we transitioned to real-space and Fox put us nearby to the satellite of the target planet. Although his aim was a little off and we emerged several VUs too distant for it to provide us with cover or concealment.
Thankfully all of the local inhabitants were otherwise engaged, with a small fleet of Ork frigates circling and trying to pick apart the lone Space Marine Strike Cruiser.
Marcone opened the Vox immediately to the Strike Cruiser and stated our friendly intentions. The Captain of the Cruiser demanded that we move to assist. Although the Captain amazed everybody by standing his ground before an Astartes and demanded that compensation would be required if he were to commit his vessel. A good thing he did, but I could positively taste his disdain across the void.
Thankfully in the short sighted nature of Orks they did not pay much attention to us until we were nearly atop them as they were focused on a boarding action that one of their ships was undertaking against one of the larger Ork ships, We took a somewhat meandering course around the battlefield, mostly managing to stay out of the guns of our enemies, whilst we took pot-shots at their main fire control systems.
Walker led a highly impressive counter-boarding action against the Ork ship that was tethered to the Strike Cruiser, knocking out their weapons as well.
However when the battle was concluded the Space Marines ordered us to mop up the remainder and then dutifully destroyed the Ork vessel that had docked with them.
The main Sunsear batteries did most of the work with the Lance rarely able to contribute significantly, but we scored two outright kills and crippled two more which then succumed to the firepower of the cruiser or burned themselves to death. Unfortunately we strayed into an arc of fire from a still fresh vessel, which tore through our shields and some of our port-side armour buckled. The death toll was nearly 8% of the ships crew (Just under 2,000 souls and assorted others)
I will feel considerably better once our batteries are upgraded with Turbolaser boosters.
Anyway the Space Marines gave... very reserved praise, but stated that we could not land on the planet where they were conducting operations. Marcone managed to win them around however, selling it as a distraction tactic. Unfortunately the auger scans looked grim, with the downed Explorator vessel occupying a part of an encircled area held by the Marines nearly 500 of them, and the area swarming with Orks who were being held at bay by counter-attacks. So we got into position for a drop-pod assault.