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  1. Qeria Archeology: Part One
  2.  
  3. The twin suns of Qeria hung overhead in a cloudless sky as the heat bore down on the excavation site amidst the dunes. A gathering of Fefing Scribes argued in the center of the site, poking at holopads and lifting up sandstone carvings. The entrance of the main tent opened as Inquisitor Kon zek Fera - his light armor reflecting the bright light of Qeria’s suns, his cape dragging through the sand behind him - walked toward the group of Scribes. With a holopad in hand, he raised his arm and his voice “Silence!” He interrupted loudly. “I have been informed that soon our Imperium brothers will arrive at the clearing outside the ruins, they are currently aboard a transport vessel and will be here any moment. Is this how we present ourselves? Squabbling?” The Scribes looked to one another, relaying telepathic apologies, and Kon telepathically expressed satisfaction as they calmed themselves. With a wave of his hand, the group disbanded and went about their business. The distant noise of a transport vessel’s engines resonated through the air and the Inquisitor raised his hand to shade his sight from the sun. He cleared his dry throat and began walking through the site and toward the landing zone, passing a number of Scribes overlooking ancient relics, scanning them beneath Covenant devices, and debating telepathically. When he arrived at the clearing, the transport vessel was levitating over the surface, deploying landing struts and powering down its engines.
  4.  
  5. The feet of the vessel buried into the hot sand as Kon folded his arms. The back of the ship opened like a hungry maw as a walkway was deployed, akin to a metal tongue digging into the sand.
  6.  
  7. Lead by Professor Altair Thaela the Imperial Vulpen research team was the first group to leave the transport craft. The whole team was completely covered in layers of brightly colored, loose clothes, on the head a piece of cloth held by a headband and a pair of goggles to protect the eyes against the sand and sun. The only visible part of cream colored fur on the professor was his tail, slowly moving from left to right. After taking some steps away from the ramp he turned around and addressed his team of ten and the accompanying droids.
  8. “Okay folks, the trip is over, time for some work. Stop idling around, other people want to get their share of sand and heat too. Take the droids and unload the equipment and our tin guards. Come on, we have no time to waste. Chop chop !”
  9. Without any more words of encouragement he turned around and moved with long swift steps towards Inquisitor Kon while his entourage and the workerdroids began unloading small and big crates from the transport, while trying to not come into the way of the next team leaving the vessel.
  10.  
  11. The Academic team was the second to leave the craft, led by Professor T’nor, head of the Xenoarcheology department. T’nor and three other members belonged to the new, enhanced species, created through Nova Terran gene therapy. The rest were normal Gidareans, nearly completely covered in clothing and armor to protect them from the heat. Higher ranking researchers were clearly distinguished by a bright yellow symbol on their shoulders: the emblem of the Academy. As the labor droids unloaded the team’s equipment, the Professor grabbed his communicator and pointed it to the ground, conducting an analysis.
  12. “Good, good…” He muttered to himself. “All right, everyone! Remember to stay hydrated and well protected: these two suns are quite unforgiving. Your implants can transmit a distress signal should anything go wrong, and everyone will be accompanied by a Multipurpose Droid. Understood?” All the Academy delegation nodded and the Professor turned towards the Inquisitor.
  13.  
  14. Three Flor, a Mok and a Yuan emerged from the transport vessel, a team sent by The Kingdom. Trenaya, a brilliant Flor scientist specializing in biology, xenosociology and archeology and head of the Kingdom archeological team, scuttles out of the shuttle. Her team quickly follow her, the Mok and Yuan donning protective visors. Trenaya and the other Flor secrete a slimy mucus that covered their faces, keeping them moist and protecting their eyes.
  15.  
  16. Trenaya turns to address her team. “Alright people! I don’t want to be here, you don’t want to be here, let’s just work as hard as possible so that we can leave as soon as possible. Let’s suit up, unload our equipment, and construct our shrine.” The team don robotic suits, and begin to unload their cargo, which includes several intricate trinkets and bobbles. Trenaya turns to face the Inquisitor, after unloading a crate labeled ‘Portable mulcher’.
  17.  
  18. Behind them, a Gogan emerged from the vessel. Adorned with cyan robes which apparently covered more protective body armor, they floated just a half-foot off the floor as they disembarked into the sands. A metal wand floated to their right, and an intricately crafted orb on their left. Mounted to their back was what appeared to be a bow, although it seemed to lack ammunition. Just behind them, a blue-armored Naragi raced into the sand and saluted their lead. “We’re ready to roll, Archmagus Vehenna!”
  19.  
  20. Following behind the Naragi were a number of other Gogan Imperium-based species: another Naragi in green armor, a Kethsan wearing yellow armor, an Infernal in black armor, and another Gogan adorned in white, clerical robes. These four put their arms to their chest in salute to their superior officer. Finally, five Gogan soldiers marched out into the sands fully decked out in armor and sporting heavy plasma guns.
  21.  
  22. The Archmagus began to give his orders to the group. “You, temporary shelter. You, hydration. Keep the people topped off and quenched.” Vehenna ordered to the green and blue armored monkeys respectively, who saluted again before racing off into the camp. He turned to the Kethsan and ordered them to lead the troops in carrying supplies off the ship. He then ordered the Cleric to follow him. To the Infernal, he said “Last but not least... make us some shade, for the good of Light...” The demonic being let out a guttered laugh and nodded in reply. Those in close proximity to the group would notice the sky dim just a little, a short-ranged psionic power that absolutely helped bear with the desert sun.
  23.  
  24. “All right everyone, everyone full and hydrated?” The leader of the Zuhl archeological team, Fernhus asked. The team of Zuhl nodded in response. “Good. Let’s head out then.” The Zuhl team left the transport vessel, the team consisting of Fernhus, four scientists, a priest of Cuphys and nine laborers, all donning light armor designed to protect their wearers from the elements and to keep their skin hydrated. ‘’Any damage to your armor is to be reported immediately, do not cause unnecessary harm to yourselves by neglecting this.’’ Fernhus said to the rest of the Zuhl team rather strictly. The priest accompanying the group gave every member of the Zuhl team a blessing. After the blessings are given, Fernhus did a quick head count, nodded approvingly to his team and turns to face the Inquisitor.
  25.  
  26. At the rear of the transport vessel, the cargo ram descended followed by a handful of Code Priest tending to their lumbering Caret-A-Trons with quite prayers and quick inspections. One slightly smaller than usual Code Priest descended the ram, arms crossed behind their back.
  27.  
  28. “By the Omniphet’s brillant wisdom, please remember to inspect all filtration and coolant systems every shift rotation less the machine spirit’s will be choked under the desert’s relentless assault!”
  29.  
  30. The final departure from the cavernous interior of the Imperial Alliance’s transport was marked by the thudding, ominous echoes of heavily reinforced armoured boots.  Slate grey neutronium plate met the harsh, unforgiving light of the desert as a squad of the Heralds of Revelation Legion Aeternus marched from within the belly of the metallic beast.  In their midst stood ten individuals; a pair of Inquisitors from each of the Orders of the Imperial Inquisition, resplendent in the iconographies of their orders and the seals of authority wax-sealed to their various attires.
  31.  
  32. No one Order seemed to hold authority, and every race of the Grand Imperium was represented - with even a Gogan and Vulpen present amid the Inquisitors’ ranks.  Clearly, the Emperor did not discriminate. With the Knights present, and the Inquisitors themselves, a point had been made clear: The Emperor Himself would be observing the result of the dig, and had given His blessing to its execution.
  33.  
  34. The Inquisitor bowed respectfully to each guest that arrived, greeting them. Once all parties had departed the vessel, he looked to them “Welcome to Qeria and praise be, brothers. Thank you for coming. Before we proceed, do any of you have questions?” He asked politely.
  35.  
  36. The Archmagus narrowed his eyes, as if a little annoyed by that statement.
  37.  
  38. “Yes, I do have a question, Inquisitor.” T’nor said. The Inquisitor looked to T’nor with a nod. “Proceed.” He said simply.
  39. “Have you already determined the structure’s precise age? And level of technology?”
  40.  
  41. “Ah, yes… The surface ruins themselves are machine age at best, but we uncovered signs of a hidden energy source beneath the surface, suggestive of Kuakiri involvement. It is likely that this world was once host to primitives that the Kuakiri guided, as we have found sandstone fragments with Kuakiri depicted as angelic beings, as it should be. We have assembled equipment for burrowing down into the hidden facility, once we arrive… we’ll learn more.” Inquisitor Kon replied with an excited tone.
  42.  
  43. “Do you know anything about the world’s previous inhabitants?” Interjected Trenaya.
  44.  
  45.  
  46. The Inquisitor looked to Trenaya and cleared his throat before speaking. “Very little, unfortunately. Previously we were unaware that Qeria was ever home to primitives, this is the first and only site which proves us wrong. From their remains, we can tell that they were some kind of reptilian species and heavily communal, from the ruins we observed that they lived in small and confined urban structures. Further study on the surface ruins are warranted, and if any of you feel like investigating then feel free to, but we are more interested in whatever is hidden underground.”
  47.  
  48. “Have you encountered any sort of threats in the area?” Professor Altair Thaela addressed the Inquisitor after greeting him with a polite bow, “Dangerous native fauna or flora? Poisonous or radioactive soil or atmospheric effects? Is the ground itself stable to operate on or do we have to be aware of possible cave ins, quicksand or hidden crevasses? Any traps left behind by the former inhabitants?”
  49.  
  50. The Inquisitor raised a hand to his chin and thought for a moment before answering. “Well, Fefings have been living on Qeria for years now, and the only threats are a lack of water, carnivorous sandworms, and yes, quicksand. But we have installed Moisture Wells, driven the sandworms from this region and we are far from the quicksand basins. As for traps, the surface ruins are quite barren of anything threatening, it’s as though everyone abandoned their homes and ran out into the streets in some kind of disaster. The air is safe to breath, no venomous animals or poisonous plants, the sand is safe… if hot… there doesn't appear to be any natural caves in this region, only a hollow area where the mysterious underground energy source is located.” He replied confidently.
  51.  
  52. “You mentioned Fefings living here,” the Professor interjected “are these locals a threat to us or can they be safely ignored?”
  53.  
  54. The Inquisitor shook his head. “This is far from civilization, the monastic societies are along the mountain passes and atop stoney plateaus. We are deep in the dunes. There is a risk of the Zerepian raiders but… They are accompanied by rogue Scavs, we will surely sense them if they come near.” The Inquisitor answered cordially.
  55.  
  56. “Thank you for the information. We will nonetheless deploy our sentry droids I think. We brought the clankers with us, so why not put them out there to good use. Even if there is nothing dangerous, it is never a bad idea to go for sure. Let’s one sleep better at night. And in case everything is quiet, they can also do some of the heavy lifting for us.“ He scratched his chin. “I will also order one of the drones to make an in depth geological scan, just to be sure of the ground we are walking on, if you are okay with this of course.”
  57.  
  58. The Inquisitor opened a flask and took a swig before responding. “The precautions are welcome, Vulpen brother.” He nodded.
  59.  
  60. The Inquisitor began to finish before the Gogan Archmagus finally interjected: “What about Daemons? Are there any negative Psionic forces around this place?”
  61.  
  62. He looked to the Archmagus with an arched brow. “Not that we’re aware of. We sense nothing beneath these sands, no souls, no daemons, nothing. This place is as dead as the rest of the desert.” The Inquisitor responded.
  63.  
  64. Vehenna smirked and nodded in reply. “I do hope so, but then the most silent places tend to hide the biggest secrets...”
  65.  
  66. The Inquisitor shook his head at the Gogan, then waited, looking to the various alien scientists and leaders before nodding. “Well, if that is all, please consult the Scribes notes before undertaking your excavations. You are free to work this site as you wish but please report all findings and place any artifacts our storage facilities. Praise be.” He said, waving a hand behind him, gesturing for a team of Scribes to come forward, who hand out holopads to the visitors, detailing campsites for rest, a cantina, potential areas for excavation, the communal dig, and all the available data. The Inquisitor turned and walked back into the camp, his cape swaying in a heavy gust of wind.
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