Run Through the JungleThe Cobalt Snake buckled and groaned as it was flung out from a sickening purple rent in the galactic void.
"Where are we, Tirpniz?" Quintus Severus harsh voice came from the command dais behind the pilot's throne.
"All cogitators are scrambled, our nav-data are corrupted. I can't get a location", the Rogue Trader finger darted between flickering command runes.
"I can hear..." the wisper came from inside Kasander's golden mask.
Severus turned to the robed figure next to him. "What do you hear, Astropath?"
"Screams... of terror, of wild joy..."
"Holy Emperor's teeth!" the curse wistled between the Rogue Trader's lips as the image of a raging warp anomaly resolved into the vid-screens.
"... a name... Malfactus..."
"For the Emperor's sake!" Severus' eyes were fixed on the static-laden images of the warp rift "We are on the wrong side of the Cicatrix..."
"I'm pickin up a signal! One parsec away. From Imeria, Ministorum Ermitage class-A planet. Sir, the signal is a nav-beacon..."
"Set our course to it, Tirpniz. We make planetfall. We need whatever nav-data are stored there if we want to rejoin the Indomitus Crusade. Gentlemen, get your weapons ready and pray for your souls. The Ghoul Stars have never been a peaceful place."
They had followed the signal to its source, Sanctuarium Lodovicum, in the equatorial jungles of Imeria. Borebettles and Sliterfangs had attacked them, and they even heard the roaring of the gigantic Imerian Tigers in the distance, but they were finally approaching the Sanctuarium.
The buzzing of flies suddenly filled the air, heralding the arrival of a band of foul servants of Nurgle.
Crude orkish guns barked, bullets flying in all directions. Inaccurate as they were, they still managed to slow down the hulking Plague Marines.
"Stop the Heretics! Don't let them get to the Sanctuarium!" Severus' voices rung with contempt as his retinue smashed onto the diseased Marines.
Firing wildly into the melee, the orks advanced toward Sanctuarium Lodovicum.
Battered by Severus' daemon hammer and XA-305's buzzing saw, the power armoured Marines fled back into the jungle, leaving their Lord to face the Inquisitor.
As their weapons locked, Severus spoke through grinned teeth. "Give me your name, so that the Emperor might know who I have defeated".
"Pustiferus Lungbane. I've served your corpse-god, and he has no claim on me", the answer came in a spat of caughing. "Nor have you. What I came for is already gone. May the blessing of Nurgle be with you, Inquisitor".
With a waft of deasesed air, Pustiferus teleported away, leaving Severus to stare at the orks ransacking the ruins of Sanctuarium Lodovicum and screaming in frustration as the nav-data held there proved to be corrupted beyond hope.
"That's Throttle's Dust Hogz" said Balthasar Tirpniz, ejecting an empty clip from his bolt pistol. "I might cut a deal with them. We go a while back, me and the 'boss. Good hands in a fight, if the loot is to their liking."
"Rogue Trader, you are treading very close to heresy" Severus' voice was cold. "But I might make good use of your questionable acquaintances if those Heretics show up again."
The deal was cut quickly. Equal shares of killing and first pick on the loot. What would happen if valid nav-data were found at the other cogitarium station they had deteced was left unspoken. Keeping their distance, Severus' retinue and the Dust Hogz waded through the jungle.
As Tirpnitz, Dexter and Severus spotted the station and closed onto it, Grandfather's Seeds of Putrefaction emerged from the vegetation, bolters blazing. XA-305 and Preacher Ian Tull moved to bar their way, the Dust Hogz offering inaccurate covering fire.
The air burst in a putrid green glow as Pustiferus Lungbane materialised close to Preacher Ian. The hulking Plague Lord smashed his way throught the priest and slammed onto Severus.
"Those data belong to me, dead dog's servant" gurgled Pustiferus. Caught by surprise, Severus barely managed to parry the Lord's onslaught before triggering the teleporter of his armour.
In a rare display of lack of self-preservation, Tirpniz jumped forward, bolt pistols blazing and cursing at himself for his stupidity.
In a heartbeat, the unconscious Rogue Trader was floating down the river. Of the Dust Hogz, there was no sign. Pustiferus caughing laugh sounded throught he jungle as he downloaded the nav-data.