As the Tech-Priests, servitors, and seed-born rushed to attack in a massive wave, Tryft signaled the D’Stayn forces to counterattack. Black Lancers dropped from vents and maintainence hatches to attack clusters of Mechanicus just as they rushed past. Led by Eurydice, Lancer heavy weapons teams dropped missiles, grenades, and stubber fire into choice groups of Tech-Priests or vital equipment. Meretek conveyed what he knew about Mechanicus combat traditions, allowing the D’Stayns to predict and counter the assault. Vesper and her Reavers lashed out at power conduits and other essential technology, damaging the Tech-Priests ability to coordinate among themselves and control their servitors and war machines. Tryft hung back, collecting tactical data from his archeotech eyepiece and shouting orders. Morgan simply waded into where the fighting was thickest, rallying Lancer mercenaries by felling dozens of enemies.
What had begun as an overwhelming Mechanicus assault swiftly became confusion and chaos.
Morgan led the D’Stayn officers toward the raised workstation where Fabricator Zophon stood with his bodyguard of seed-born and cadre of magos assistants. “You will not interfere with knowledge and progress!” Zophon screamed in defiance, “The secret of the Emperor will not have died with him!”
Vesper was the first into the fray, firing on Zophon – only to be intercepted by the seed-born, who laid into her with oversized chainswords. Vesper was horribly mangled by the assault, holding onto consciousness by sheer stubbornness. After trading ineffectual shots with the seed-born pair, she casually mentioned how “obviously” weak she was and how Meretek over there was the tougher opponent. One of the seed-born obligingly charged at the startled Tech-Priest, chopping at Meretek’s arms and legs with his chainsword.
The magos assistants formed a firing line and peppered the D’Stayns with las fire. But the Mechanicus were scientists and not warriors. Most of their shots went wide and Tryft and Morgan were able to make short work of them with a mix of automatic las fire and melta beams.
Zophon himself entered the fray, flailing about with a power axe and dozens of medicae mechandendrites. Although he wounded Morgan, the Lady-Captain and Tryft drove Zophon back, injuring him badly enough that the Fabricator fled behind his failing line of Tech-Priests. His speed was uncanny and it was only when Janessa’s servo-skull managed to light the Fabricator on fire with its built-in flamer that the D’Stayns were able to catch up to the heretek and end him.
Meanwhile, Meretek managed to slay his seed-born attacker with some help from Janessa, who also assisted Vesper in finishing off her own opponent.
With Fabriator Zophon dead, the surviving Tech-Priests seemed disinclined to continue fighting. The battle became a rout, with many Mechanicus and seed-born fleeing into the bowels of the Allegiance. While Janessa took the time to catalog and process the remnants of the battle and calculate the captured booty (a fortune in bionic material, Mechanicus equipment, and Astartes weaponry), the rest of the D’Stayns and Black Lancers spread out into kill-teams to hunt down the escaped Mechanicus.
One team, including Vesper, Eurydice, and Morgan, found themselves in an isolated, dark corridor. The passage was littered with ancient dead, mostly Mechanicus but some Reavers, mutants, and others as well, all killed by a variety of weapons fire. Continuing on, the group accidentally triggered a barrage of automated weapon traps that decimated their Black Lancer escort and left the trio trapped within a circle of death. As they awaited their own demise, a concealed portal marked with the glowing Imperial aquila and a tiger’s head, hissed to life and cycled open.
Standing in the threshold was one of the mighty Astartes warriors – a Space Marine in battle-worn silver armor bedecked with purity seals. At a gesture, the automated weapons ceased fire but remained trained on the three women. Morgan was the first to go to her knees in respect but was followed quickly by a awestruck Vesper and a stunned speechless Eurydice. The Space Marine marched closer to the D’Stayn and spoke in a resonant voice through his armor’s voxcaster.
“I am Battle-Brother Gideon of the Tigers Argent Chapter. And I would know your purpose aboard the Unfailing Allegiance.” And then Morgan, Eurydice, and Vesper felt the Astartes’ psychic presence push into their thoughts, sifting through their recent memories with ease. The trio did not resist, allowing the Marine (a Librarian!) access to recent events. For his part, Gideon did not delve deeper than their recent memories since arriving in-system. When he finished he seemed satisfied.
“You have vanquished an ancient traitor by destroying Magos Zophon and his heretekal cult,” Brother Gideon said, “And for this, we are indebted to you. Come.” He led the women through the portal, which turned out to be a converted secure cargo locker containing a small amount of living supplies and six statis pods. As the D’Stayns watched, Brother Gideon activated the pods, reviving another five Tigers Argent Space Marines!
The leader of the Marines was a personable Battle-Brother named Lazarus, who inquired about the D’Stayns’ purposes for being on the space hulk as well as for details about Zophon’s downfall. Eurydice and Vesper quickly assured the Marines that they were here under the auspices of the Imperium and an official Warrant of Trade that stretched back to the Age of Forging. Sergeant Lazarus and his Brother-Marines seemed pleased with the turn of events, explaining that they had been among the last survivors of the battle between the Unfailing Allegiance and the Red Haze raider vessel. While trapped within the warp, Magos Zophon had begun experimenting on their slain Brother-Marines, hoping to unlock the secrets of the the Astartes gene-seed, a secret known only to the Emperor Himself. The surviving Tigers Argent had tried to stop him, but the Mechanicus forces vastly outnumbered them and the Allegiance was theirs to command. Finally, Lazarus and his five Battle-Brothers were forced to conceal themselves within this storage room, taking turns out of cold statis to keep watch until the situation changed enough for them to strike back at Zophon.
Morgan and compang returned to the rest of the D’Stayn forces to much awe and surprise. Sergeant Lazarus conferred with Tryft and Janessa, explaining that the space hulk continued to randomly jump through the warp because of three malfunctioning or corrupted warp drives. The Allegiance contained one (which Meretek disabled without too much effort) and the Red Haze contained another. The Red Haze’s drive was defended by a corrupted cogitator that called itself the “Speaker of Blood.” The third warp engine was unknown to the Marines.
Sergeant Lazarus told the D’Stayns that he and his Battle-Brothers would fight alongside the D’Stayn Dynasty in their efforts to secure the space hulk and that he would support the D’Stayn Family’s claim to the hulk….as long as the D’Stayns would see the six Space Marines back to Imperial space so that they might rejoin their Chapter after so many millennium. The D’Stayns readily agreed, noting that nothing was said about how direct a route back to Imperial space would be taken.
Janessa asked Sergeant Lazarus if his men could handle the “Speaker of Blood” and Lazarus agreed that he could. Before the Marines departed on their mission, Janessa made a point of having the six visit the home of the Reaver Clan and their leader Malchiah. With the Space Marines’ influence, the Reaver clan pledged their lives and loyalty to the D’Stayn Dynasty.
While the Space Marines went about their work, the D’Stayns located and accessed the bridge of the Unfailing Allegiance and gained control of the ship’s damaged auger array. Even with the damage, they were able to use the array to locate another vessel further “above” the wreckage of the Allegiance and the Haze. This ship had an active warp engine and would need to be disabled in order to lock the space hulk to its current position.