++Astropathic Choir Intercept ZX937, Kyne's Fury 3.549.873.M39++

++Message to Inquisitor Tas Rovini++

++ Transcript Appended++

Thought for the Day: The Alien fails because it cannot embrace the Emperor.

My Lord,

We have done as you commanded and sought the world in the Halo Stars. Though the journey through the Warp was long and treacherous, our Navigator pulled us through with minimal damage and only slight temporal irregularities. The system was found, as the Emperor's Tarot declared it would be, after a mere search of three months. Five worlds are located in the system, now dubbed Equis, for… well, for reasons that shall soon become apparent.

The star Equis Primaris is a main-sequence yellow star apparently in the prime of its stellar life. Observations we could make in such a short time were limited, but nothing about it particularly differentiates itself from the primary of the Sol System or those of uncounted systems beyond. It is easily capable of sustaining human life, should a colonial effort ever be undertaken to this system.

Equis I is little more than a scorched ball of rock close to the system's primary. Resembling Mercury of Sol, it contains little to make it desirable. It lacks atmosphere, valuable minerals, or indeed most anything beyond sun-blackened rock. Temperatures on the surface are well past tolerable levels for all but the most specialized probes. Our party made little more than a cursory attempt to examine it, but all indications are that its worth is negligible to our Imperium.

Equis II is little better than its neighbor. Only slightly larger than Equis I, it lacks more than a thin atmosphere, as well as any easily exploitable resources. Furthermore, the world appears to be tectonically unstable, with at least two quakes capable of creating cracks visible from orbit occurring during our short stay in the system. While its distance from its solar body makes temperatures somewhat more amendable to Imperial colonization than Equis I, I confess that I see little point in doing so. Nothing of value exists on that sphere.

Equis III is the system's sole planet that would be capable of sustaining human life without extensive terraforming and other expensive solutions. Unlike its sibling planets, this world appears to be rotationally locked around Equis Primaris. The result is a planet that is half sun-baked desert, half frozen wasteland, with a thin stretch of Twilight in between. Though this phenomena is not unknown to Imperial scholars, the second is far more unnatural, and suggests a heavy taint by the Warp. Equis III's moon appears to somehow be locked in place over the planet's night side, precisely opposite to the location of Equis Primaris. It maintained this position throughout our entire stay, despite the blatant physical impossibility involved. I fear that the corruption of the Warp is behind this. It was on this planet that we made the key discovery of our journey, but I will speak on that in a moment.

Equis IV and V are, frankly, of little note. Both are ringed gas giant planets of fairly generic orbit and composition. Nothing truly separates them from each other beyond the fact that Equis IV possesses ten moons while Equis V possesses only seven. Of these moons, two contain valuable resources of note, though neither possesses an atmosphere. Magos Katravich can explain the details of this more than I can. Her geological report should prove far more informative on the nature of these planets than I can be here. ++See: Intercept ZX941++

My Lord, my own task took myself and my fellow Acolytes to Equis III. As predicted, we found the remnants of a dead xenos civilization. Analysis of what remains suggests a very curious level of similarity in architectural design to that of certain primitive human designs. Technological levels appeared to be no more advanced than those of a Feudal World, with certain strange exceptions. A number of artifacts recovered suggest a level of technology perhaps equal to a Civilized World. Some, such as a primitive locomotive, appeared to be designed to run off of coal, though most were lacking in any evident power source. Porthis, our psyker, suggested that these might be the remains of devices once powered by psychic witchery. If this is so, the xenos must have possessed a great deal of psychic potential and made frequent use of it. Perhaps this was the cause of their demise?

More curious than this, though, was the utter lack of comparatively fresh corpses on the planet. We located what appears to have been some sort of graveyard analogue, containing old skeletons greatly resembling certain smaller breeds of equines. However, we noted that not a single body was found outside of this place. Stranger still, while certain plant life existed in the small twilight zone between the desert and frozen lands, not a single instance of animal life greater than the microbe level was located. Furthermore, certain features visible on the desert side suggest that the planet was not always rotationally locked – indeed that it became so quite recently. Dried up riverbeds, lakes, and even whole oceans were confirmed to exist. These were in a state of mild erosion, which suggests that they have not been dried up for long, elsewise they would be unidentifiable. In addition, what appeared to be entire forests of dried, bleached trees were found, having apparently failed to rot. No animal corpses were found within. All this suggests that the period of time between the planet's becoming rotationally locked and the present is vanishingly small. If I may indulge in hypothesizing, perhaps it has been this way no more than a few decades, or even a few years.

We located many examples of xenos ruins on both sides of the planet, and Magos Katravich did her best to record and catalogue them all in what limited time we had. Her report contains more details on the subject. I would like to note that they generally appear to conform to my hypothesis of recent rotational locking, evidencing no more than a few years worth of decay, particularly in the twilight zone. The most momentous event of our trip occurred during our investigation of an unusually large set of ruins of what had evidently once been a major xenos mountain city. This particular set was located on the sun side of the planet, though by no more than a handful of miles.

As we probed the debris for clues as to what precisely befell the place, Porthis signaled for my attention. He apparently detected a faint psychic signature near the west most point of the city. Naturally, it was our duty to investigate this anomaly. We formed up in good order, then proceeded through what was left of the city streets. We soon arrived at what looked to have once been one of the largest buildings in the city, perhaps a castle or mansion of some sort. Indicating a particularly intact half-tower, Porthis informed me that our quarry appeared to be holed up within.

Sensing a potential trap of some kind, I began organizing a team to explore the building, when suddenly that proved quite unnecessary. In an event I shamefully admit caught me off guard, a living, breathing xenos threw itself out of a hole in the wall and rushed our party. I would have given the order to open fire, but something in the way it was running stopped me. I've seen equines charge before, most notably when I served beside the Estendian Light Cavalry during my time in the Imperial Guard, and this one didn't appear to be charging. Instead, it looked to be throwing itself at us in a moment of raw panic and desperation, reinforced by the utter lack of hostility in its face.

Looking back, I realize that assuming I knew the thoughts of xeno scum from familiar-seeming expressions was raw foolishness and arrogance, and I have spent many hours in penalty cells attempting to do penance for this lapse in judgment. I welcome any additional punishment you wish to impose, my Lord.

Still, my impressions appear to have been validated by the xeno's subsequent actions. It closed dozens of meters in a matter of seconds, appearing to possess all the speed of its equine ancestors. Rather than attack, as I feared in the moment, it collapsed to its knees in front of us. As if the whole episode weren't surprising enough already, it somehow spoke in Low Gothic! Servo-skull recordings prove that the creature was actually speaking, and not using some sort of psychic trick.

On its knees, it begged us to save it from what it repeatedly referred to as "the dark ones". It implored us to bear it away from this world and conceal it somewhere safe, somewhere "where they can't get me". It continued to cry and mumble incoherently, alternating between relatively lucid moments of pleading and random fits of deranged paranoia, in which it evidenced the belief that whatever it feared were somehow watching it even now, and desired its pain and misery. I suspected it might be sensing daemons of some sort, but Porthis confirmed that he detected no presence of any kind beyond ours and that of the xeno before us. In one of its fits, it attempted to conceal itself from its imagined tormenters behind my legs.

It was at that time that I was able to observe the creature in detail. It is a purple-colored equine, smaller than adults I had seen prior. It possesses two wings and a short forehead horn, along with a badly-damaged mane of a darker purple, with a slight streak of pink. Its eyes look too large for its head, and its muzzle is considerably smaller than that of any similar creature I have ever encountered. It has a brand of some sort on its flank, perhaps denoting status or ownership. I hypothesize that the wings and horn are vestigial, as the horn is small and dull, while the wings do not appear large enough to carry it in flight. More detailed analysis of its physical form is included in this report.

Despite the creature's apparently nonsensical mood swings, it did not prove hostile. On the contrary, when it was lucid it made every effort to cooperate with us, gladly agreeing to accompany us to our shuttle as a prisoner, and even urging us to go faster. When asked how it knew that we were not the ones that had so terrorized it, it laughed bitterly and said that we were "nothing like them". As this appeared to trigger another onset of paranoia, I ordered a temporary halt to this line of inquiry.

In an attempt to keep the xeno more lucid and less likely to attempt escape or suicide until we could get it safely secured into a shipboard cell, I chose to try and focus the conversation elsewhere. When asked if it had any identifier, it nodded in a curiously human-like gesture and claimed to be called Twilight Sparkle. It further identified itself as a female. When asked its species designation, it called itself a pony, then amended to say it was an alicorn. A curious designation, but one that seems to stir some sort of memory in me. I will have to examine this in more detail.

"Twilight" continued to alternate between small-talk, urges to increase our speed, and random attempts to hide behind various members of our party while declaring that "they" wouldn't get it throughout our walk back to the shuttle. In the process, it identified the ruins through which we crept as "Canterlot" and repeatedly swore to someone called "Celestia". Notably, mentioning the latter name caused it to break down into tears and crazed fits on at least three occasions.

It took its assigned place in our shuttle with great enthusiasm, repeatedly exclaiming how happy it was to be away from whatever tormented it here. I accompanied part of the team back to orbit with the captured xeno, while the remainder stayed behind to continue examining the ruins. The creature refrained from complaining about the particularly rough ride back to orbit, and once onboard proved as cooperative as it had been on the planet.

However, "Twilight" was revealed to have another major psychological weakness almost right away. When exposed to anything less than well-lit areas, it immediately resumed terrified, paranoid behaviors, claiming "they" came from the darkness. No rational arguments swayed its mind, and in the end it had to be carried through such areas. Though I loathe to consider the opinions of xenos filth in anything I do, I was forced to order it to be placed in a cell that is continuously lit, for fear of causing a total mental breakdown in the creature before it could reveal any useful information. It accepted imprisonment without complaint, and in fact thanked us for "saving" it. I worry about the quality of information to be gained from such an obviously deranged specimen, but thus far it is the only living example of its kind to hand.

That brings me to now, when I sit at my desk, composing my thoughts for you. We make for system's edge as I write, returning to Imperial space at last. I cannot tell you what a blessing it will be to behold pure, unsullied human worlds again after so long examining those of xenos scum. I will interrogate this "Twilight Sparkle", and if necessary I will break it to get at whatever it knows. I will not fail you, my Lord.

Your servant,

Interrogator Kylara

++Message Ends++