Subject: OH-017 – Pokol Facility
Threat Level: Minoris (pending further investigation)
The Pokol Facility is located in the galactic fringe, overlooking the fathomless darkness of the void where stars go to die. Beyond the undesignated planetoid that plays host to the Pokol Facility, there is literally nothing. No more planets, no more stars, just an empty expanse of eternity. A most fitting location for such an ominous place.
The Facility was located by the fleet of Rogue Trade ++++++++ ++++++. No one in their right mind would venture to such a desolate location, but they were attempting to pursue eldar pirates who had attacked her fleet. With revenge on her mind, the Rogue Trader pursued her foes, but elusive xenos gave her the slip. Between her were the last few planetoids of His Imperium and the Great Nothingness, so she scoured them one by one, looking for the xenos hideout. Instead, she found something quite different.
An Inquisitor doesn’t just travel to the edge of the galaxy on the beck and call of a Rogue Trader, but we have been acquitances for decades and her services have helped bring success to more than one operation, so I indulged her. Based on her preliminary data, I have assembled a retinue of specialists and prepared myself for an investigation that might be time consuming. I fear I was right.
The Pokol Facility, as I have previously mentioned, is located on a planetoid. This dwarf planet has a gravity that approximates standard Terran, which was probably another reason why the Facility was established here. The planet itself is inhospitable, its surface blemished by a single man-made crater. However, the crater is not visible to the naked eye or even average sensoriums, as it is covered by an adaptive camouflage system. Undernearth it, we have detected breathable atmosphere, but we approached with due caution. Subjecting my subordinates to an atmosphere that could at any moment be vented was not a risk I was willing to take.
I dispatched my infiltrators to find a way inside the crater. My first attempt would have surely met with failure, if not for Rogue Trader ++++++++ ++++++ and her curiosity. She lost several seasoned veteran crewmembers to the elaborate traps and automated defense systems guarding the egress points. Fortunately, my infiltrators had been trained in techniques and methodology available only to a select few outside the Holy Ordos. Nevertheless, securing our entry to the Facility was not without casualties. This setback further piqued my interest. If the outside is so heavily protected, surely there must be something of significant value inside.
The technology and architecture encountered so far indicated that the Facility was built by human hands. My suspicion has been further reinforced by the structures found within the crater. Burrowed into the glassy rock – indicating industrial melta excavators – are a number of support structures, such as vox antennea, atmosphere vents and landing pads. Around the lips of the crater, holoprojectors consantly beam a unique camouflague pattern over an atmospheric energy field, shielding the crater from prying eyes. Underneath the energy field shimmers something else entirely. Like oil in a puddle of water, greasy rainbows swirl and collide, sparking colours not of this world. The overlapping void shields, as we would find out later on, were capable of absorbing sustained orbital bombardment.
In the geometrical center of the crater stands a gateway of immense proportions, towering above everything else. It is exactly 50 meters tall and 20 meters wide. Its gates are fashioned out of solid adamantite slabs several feet thick, with the Imperial Aquila emblazoned on it. No other device, logo or sigil adorns it. The gateway continues to hide the identity of its builders.
Using our newly gained access to the energy fields, I had shuttles ship in prefabricated habblocks to construct my base of operations. I had it built facing the gateway, deploying gun emplacements to ensure that whatever was inside, it could be contained in case of a breach. I made sure that my headquarters was self-sustaining. The operation promised to be a long one, which was an assumption quickly proven correct.
Opening the gates took my most senior Tech-Priests two months. Copper wires melted, cogs dislodged and brains cooked within their craniums. I had to call in favours to have additional personnel and equipment shipped in, as the pile of burned out machines and half-human hybrids kept growing with each day. It was a riddle that I had to solve and thus no efforts were spared. The Facility would eventually yield its secrets to me.
Subterranean engines rumbled with titanic strength, opening the heavy slab to reveal a ramp leading down into the bowels of the dwarf planet. I wish I could tell you that it was like a gaping maw, the darkness in its throat enticing with its mysteries, but alas, that would not be the truth. Automated lumens turned on, bathing the ramp in searing white light, eradicating even the faintest of shadows. I had considered my next step with caution. Gaining entry to the crater itself proved difficult, thus exploring further was likely to provide even heavier resistance. But I had a plan.
I unleashed a veritable legion of servoskulls to map the inside of the Facility. Bobbing on their antigravitic plates, the macabre devices descended without hesitation. The stream of datasquirts soon became a torrent and the holomap of the Facility began to take form in front of my very eyes. Each newly discovered corridor and room was added to the growing picture as it slowly revolved in the heart of my command centre. The mapping was done within an hour and I had lost none of the servoskulls. I had expected resistance and it was disconcerting that none was forthcoming.
Storm troopers, loyal and lethal, swarmed down the ramp. Their mission was to clear and capture Sublevel One. In half the time it took the servoskulls to the map the area, the storm troopers secured the area. I have joined them, my senior retinue close on my heels. The Facility seemed to be abandoned, or at least this level was. No sign of life or recent activity was visible. A security substation was the closest thing I could find to a command centre, so I ordered the tech-priests to obtain access to the Facility’s security system. Apparently, Sublevel One was a final checkpoint on the way out from the Facility. It provided access to a heavy blastdoor that led further down into the bowels of the Facility. I had them open the blastdoor.
The earth beneath my boots shook. Lumens flickered. Sirens wailed. Horrors gibbered.
Opening the blastdoor had apparently opened something else as well. I do not know what, but I intend to find out. The tech-priest handling the security console started frothing oil, spasms wrecking its body. Its vox-emitter unleashed a torrent of error messages from the Facility’s security system. I deducted that the opening of the blastdoor has initiated a chain reaction that cascaded down the security system, blowing out safety measures and opening wide a portal to something unexplicable.
Through the blastdoor came creatures made out of nightmare. Shambling, one-eyed monstrosities, screeching, firespewing fliers, chitinous androgyns in cloven hoofs and crimson terrors with glowing eyes. My storm troopers responded in a heartbeat, unleashing torrents of deadly energy from their hellguns. Having witnessed immaterial incursions before, I feared the worst. Our weapons would do but superficial damage to the denizens of the warp. I could not hide my surprise when our foes were vanquished within minutes.
The next surprise came in form of steaming piles of offal. The daemons, if that is what they truely were, lay there, defeated, blood seeping from wounds and innards strewn across the pristine rockrete of the ramp leading further down. In my experience, daemons are creatures of energy and they dissipate upon termination. These ones, apparently, didn’t. While my storm troopers set up a barricade to ensure no further surprises visited us from the following Sublevels, I had my magos biologis team examine the cadavers.
My cursory examination was correct. Although these creatures resembled the specific physical attributes of common warpborne, they were, for all intents and purposes, human. They were not distorted by flesh change brought on by a daemons consuming their souls and melding with their corpus. Further examination revealed that the corpses contained traces of polymorphine, a substance used most notably by the Culexis Temple of the Officio Assassinorum. Regardless of their material nature, the corpses emanated low levels of immaterial radiation. Was this due perhaps to their resemblence to daemons? Did they take their forms after visually studying daemons? The answer eludes me faster than my adepts can come up with new hypotheses.
My next step was to send the servoskulls further down to map the rest of the Facility. The chain reaction shut down every weapon emplacement and opened every gate and door, allowing unobstructed access to all the Sublevels. The servoskulls have made the following discoveries.
- Sublevel One: Final checkpoint.
- Sublevel Two: Guard barracks.
- Sublevel Three: Security checkpoint.
- Sublevel Four: Generatorium.
- Sublevel Five: Central Command.
- Sublevel Six to Ten: Laboratories.
- Sublevel Ten to Fourteen: Testing facilities.
- Sublevel Fifteen to Twenty-Five: Dungeons.
- Sublevel Twenty-Six and beyond is still unmapped.
As straightforward as this may seem, there is an issue that I’ve yet to divulge. The data we receive from the servoskulls have become inconsistent over time. There are servoskulls that detected no further option for descent beyond Sublevel Seventeen, indicating that it was the lower most floor of the Facility. Other servoskulls as still continuing their descent. My tech-priests are unsure how they are able to receive data from such depths, but apparently, they still do. A servoskull has managed to make it past Sublevel Three-Thousand, which is impossible. That would’ve meant that the servoskull passed through the dwarf planet and exited on the other side. Just to be sure, we investigated the other side and did not find any sign of the Facility there.
Furthermore, the deeper the servoskulls penetrate into the labyrinthine Facility, the more the consistency of their data fractures. For example, a dozen servoskulls have reported to have completely mapped Sublevel Nine, but each servoskull produced a different map. The further down one goes, the bigger the divergence. And that’s not all. We noticed an irregular phenomenon that changed the layout of a Sublevel in the midst of being mapped. The most notable is the servoskulls trapped in a corridor, with dead ends at both sides, flying back and forth in an infinite loop.
Based on my findings, I have contacted my colleagues at the Ordo Malleus for support, as they are more well versed in the ways of the daemons. No Inquisitor was forthcoming, but an Alpha Plus grade psyker’s assistance was offered and graciously accepted. With an Ordo Malleus Interrogator supervising the psyker’s activities, I have managed to make further progress in figuring out the Pokol Facility’s secret.
According to the psyker, the Pokol Facility is steeped in immaterial energies. It is not like a portal into the unrealm, but more akin to the background radiation produced by a star. Is it everywhere, it is constant, but unlike the star, it doesn’t seem to have a center. It is simply everywhere. Most notable, however, is that it carries no malign intent or any detectable intent at all. It is as if the otherwise roiling energies of warp, fuelled by emotions, has been distilled and deposited around the facility to act as … I don’t know, perhaps a conduit?
There are further investigations under way, but so far, I have concluded that the changing layout of the Pokol Facility can be attributed to the immaterial energies coursing through every inch of the Facility. My savant suggested to me that perhaps, in an inverted way, the Pokol Facility itself is mimicing the shapeshifting abilities of the experiemental subjects as wrought upon them by the polymorphine. It is a hypothesis as good as any. Until we uncover the true source of the Pokol Facility’s unnatural phenomenon, we won’t know the truth of it.
The Pokol Facility is currently under investigation. Despite the ferocity displayed by the experimental subjects within its depths, the Facility itself poses minimal threat and it is contained. I offer my colleagues the opportunity to join this investigation and lend their expertise to my efforts. Unfortunately, my duties demanded that I depart, but I have left behind a team dedicated to the task of unearthing Pokol Facility’s dark secrets.
Sidenote: Although the Pokol Facility’s exact origin and purpose continues to elude me, I do believe it is time the Officio Assassinorum undergo in-depth scrutiny for their possibly heretical experiements. Beware them and trust no one.