After seeing to the needs of survivors from the Emperor’s Bounty and storing the Psycharus Worm in a secured vault. Lord Agrestes of House Candalith was informed that the Xenophon’s March had detected a weak salvation beacon coming from a nearby debris field. Unable to hail the vessel sending the signal, the Lord-Captian ordered the helmsman to close to effective scanning distance. The deep void augar arrays revealed that the ship was badly damaged and dead in the water. Life support was still active and some five hundred souls were still alive on-board the Penitent Traveller.
After a sensor-sweep of the area by Xantov of House Xan’tai. The Lord-Captain ordered the helmsman to close to visual distance and prepare to board the stranded pilgrim ship. Suddenly when the Xenophon’s March was only two VUs away, a leech mine exploded in a blast of energy that sapped power from the great and noble ship’s plasma drive, slowing the ship to one-quarter speed. Immediately klaxons and lights began to flash all over the ancient bridge.
Inside the debris field two undetected and unidentified Raiders, passively scanned the frigate as it neared the wreck. Having triggered the leech mine, they sprung their trap. Their plasma drives roared to life and the nimble ships navigated the debris field with ease as they closed on their prey, weapons primed.
Lord-Captian Agrestes ordered all hands to battlestations, the proud ship stripped of its speed turned to face its attackers. Acting quickly the crew scanned their opponents and prepared for combat. Yasha Zamora activated the vox array and hailed the enemy "Stand down! This is the House Canadlith Frigate Xenophon’s March. Break off your attack and you may yet live. It’s a good day to die!"
On board the the Stygian Reaver’s vessel, the sorceror was beginning to have doubts about the wisdom of attacking this particular vessel. Still the element of suprise meant the Reavers had a chance to end this fight before it started. The hidden leech mine had its intended efffect and should the wounded predator prove too dangerous, he knew they could out run her. He pressed his advantage despite the taste of fear in his throat. “Fire!” he commanded.
A lucky laser blast penetrated the armor of the Lord-Captian’s ship. The eldrich machine-spirit cried out in anger as the Vitae Pattern Life Sustainer was badly damaged and stopped functioning. Seeing to damage control the crew began emergency repairs and triage. While the Lord Agrestes rallied the crew, he ordered hit and run raids carried out on the sensors of the enemy ship. Xavius communed with machine-spirit soothing it’s pain and urging it on to combat. First Officer Lucius took over fire control and unleashed a volley of ordinance as the ship’s thrusters compensated for the massive guns.
The first Reaver ship rocked from the impact of the heavy ordinance. It’s armor buckled as numerous decks were vented to space, crew losses were high but no critical systems were impacted. The sorceror drew a pistol and shot the mutant that had been manning the vox caster, any calls for surrender would fall on deaf ears this day.
Deep in the bowels of the second Reaver ship Lt. Aribyashi, lead the lethal murder-servitors to auger relays control station. As they strode towards their destination they slaughtered mutants in droves, he turned the final corner and engaged the plasma cutter to breach the airlock. While the murder-servitors held back the mutant reinforcements, the veteran stormtrooper cleared the room with a frag grenade. Walking throgh the smoke filled control room, he placed the satchel charge and set the timer.
Blinded the second Reaver ship had no choice now but to disengage, and quickly as possible. The ambush had failed. The first Reaver ship sailed beyond the Xenophon’s March firing a parting shot over her bow and made for the vastness of space beyond the debris field.
Furious over the loss of his crew and the minor damage to his ship, the Lord-Captian ordered his pounded his fist into his console and ordered his sluggish ship to pursue the defeated enemy. The second hit and run mission failed. The guncutter was unable to close with the blinded enemy vessel. This news was not well received by the Lord Agrestes, “Concentrate fire on the wounded raider, Lucius!” Agian the ship shuddered as it let loose a second volley of fire. The ordinance erupted around the small enemy craft, rocking it fore to aft. Rending its port armor and nearly tearing the ship in half. The crippled raiders speed away and the Reaver’s lick their wounds deep in the void.
After a severe & lengthy rant about chaos scum and cowardly reavers the Lord-Captain regains his composure and orders the Penitent Traveller boarded and recon’d. Lt. Aribyashi and his platoon of stormtroopers board the wreck. The wholesale slaughter and desecration left behind by the Stygian Reavers is stomach turning. The five hundred or so souls that survived, were gathered behind a sealed bulkhead in the cargo hold, ready to be vented to space. The platoon encountered light mutant resistance, they were dispatched with relative ease. The pilgrim survivors were transported to the Xenophon’s March and their desecrated ship was scuttled to prevent further ambushers from using it as bait. The pilgrims have nothing to offer in return for their salvation. They were awed by Lord-Captian Agrestes’ actions and sure that he was sent by St. Druses himself as an answer to their prayers to the God-Emperor. They were on their way to Footfall.
After a few more days of travel the crew reached the open space that lies beyond the Maw known as the Koronus Expanse. Passage through the Maw was difficult and not without its dangers.