(600 + GE)
(Julie, Kevin, Matt, Miguel)
Personal Cipher Engaged
Subject: Old Fashioned Profit
Cipher-Lock: Sister Minerva de Liire – Ordo Famulous
Thought for the Day: “The Emperor Rewards The Righteous”
I hadn’t expected to be back here in Port Echo, and neither did anyone else for that matter, but the vagaries of the warp made a stopover here more efficient than going directly to Licenia from the wreck of Port Constance, and so here we are. It’s probably well that we did so, however, as this gave Cousin Roland an opportunity to make an extremely high-value purchase from the Lin Dynasty that will, Emperor willing, lead to the significant advancement of our own Dynasty.
First, though, I should probably record the unpleasant business surrounding the boarding and securing of Port Constance. Lady-Captain Antigone was understandably preoccupied with re-asserting her command over her two remaining ships after they were forced to fire on and destroy the Red Star, consigning so many righteous men and women to death. Even so, she was able to to launch a fairly well-organized action to seize the docks and hangar bays of Port Constance to ensure that none could escape. Our Master of Etherics noted signs of energy weapon fire from deep within the station matching the alien energies of the cloud-weapon, and so it was determined that there were still likely xenos factions active on board. Cousin Roland and a few of his senior officers utilized our teleportarium to transport themselves, along with ten murder servitors, to the command and control center of the station in order to secure it.
Upon arrival they discovered that the station had been woefully neglected for seven centuries. Lit only by the dull red glow of emergency lighting, with consoles and systems barely functional, a few score dirty, starving, debased people lived in terror of the “Great Worm” and its servants. They apparently worshiped this Worm as their deity, and were in despair over its abandonment. Roland, Svenya, Astropath Darrius, and Navigator Primaris Soteris, along with the aforementioned murder servitors, fought off an attempt by abominable xenos constructs to seize the C&C. These constructs were, apparently, blasphemous fusions of metal and flesh utilizing living construct weapons that could disintegrate those struck. Fortunately they were put down, and Cousin Roland and his retainers ascertained the awful truth of Port Constance.
It would appear that there were no more than about 500 people on board a station that could hold up to a million. The men were all descended distantly from the original naval crew, and knew nothing other than service to the Great Worm. The women, however, were mostly imported via means of xenos teleportation technology from the nearby world of Ymir-3. Every woman on the station was in some stage of pregnancy. It was all a terribly efficient breeding farm to provide food for the “Worm”, namely the xenos Slaugth who sat at the center of the station manipulating everything. The humans themselves never met the Slaugth, but were herded by its constructs, and led by one of their own, chosen periodically to be the “Oculos”, a sort of seer, who led the community with seemingly prescient insight, but was always deposed to “ascend” to the Great Worm.
Cousin Roland’s retainers managed to get some damage control systems working, and salvaged about 2/3 of the station, and then investigated the Oculos. It was apparently an artifact from a different xenos species, something called a Brass Prism, a sort of helmet that apparently supercharges cognition. Those who plug into the item are able to think with a degree of logic and focus impossible to most minds, putting together seemingly disparate and unremembered facts to make amazing leaps of deduction. Darrius had heard of such things before, and knew that the Adeptus Mechanicus will pay incredible sums for a working example. Svenya also realized that Inquisitor Steendahl would find such a device incredibly useful. After carefully experimenting with the helmet upon a debased local volunteer, they determined that it had no immediately harmful side-effects, and so opted to take it with them.
They found the Slaugth’s lair and destroyed the two teleportation receivers that apparently connected the station to Ymir-3, and then left Port Constance to Lady-Captain Antigone’s task force to hold after evacuating the wretched inhabitants. Before departing, however, they raided what half-corrupted files the station had. They learned why Port Constance seemed to recognize us on our last appearance. It would seem that some four months before our initial arrival, another ship of the Imperium had stopped by Port Constance. The “Etheric Light” captained by Lady Elizabeth Starling had stopped by, offloaded some “supplies” and departed. This ship was the one that informed the “Oculos” that Dynasty Aguirre, along with agents of the Amaranthine Syndicate, and Dynasty Flamel, were potential allies. Cousin Roland and his people found it odd that a Starling dynasty vessel would have come to Port Constance so quickly after the warp storms had abated, and had only stopped by once, already apparently having the desired cargo.
We discussed what to do next. The Forgehammer had taken damage in the battle, but not so much that a shipyard was immediately necessary. Cousin Roland felt that we could not afford to neglect our investment in the Throne of the Sky Father for too much longer, but recognized we needed to put certain mercantile ducks in a row before we could begin our scheme to create our own secret shipyard. We needed two things above all. First, we needed a means to pull wrecked vessels out of a planetary gravity well. Second, we needed skilled Adeptus Mechanicus labor to staff the asteroid shipyard.
For the first, we recalled Lady-Captain Evelyn Lin’s similar efforts to pull the “Angevin’s Fire” from the surface of the Hedge. Since she had already done so, theoretically she might be willing to part with her graviton grapnels. For the second, Darrius consulted our new Enginseer Prime, who suggested that we inquire of the local Licenian Adeptus Mechanicus who are eager to prove their reintegration into the Imperium. Darrius sent word in an attempt to contact the Mechanicus, as well as a solicitation to Lady-Captain Lin.
Meanwhile, Lady-Captain Antigone hosted a private dinner for herself and Cousin Roland where she expressed her appreciation for our aid in the battle. This appreciation was very tangible and came in the form of a military requisition for trained interceptor pilots, as well as a note to her wealthy family, House Zenobia of Rashan, for preferential trade agreements which significantly improved our potential wealth.
We prepared to travel to Licenia, where the fleet is headquartered, for the purposes of getting those pilots, as well as some repairs, but our Navigator Primaris determined that the route between Port Constance and Licenia was unduly long and obscured. She calculated that she could rapidly get us to Port Echo, however, and find a much shorter route from there. Upon arriving, we noticed that Port Echo had a decidedly more martial air. Military supply ships were passing through, and the place looked much more the naval port of prior centuries than the pirate haven of more recent ones. Angevin’s Fire was in the shipyard, with Lady-Captain Lin’s own vessel, the Star Heron, in the vicinity. This fortunate coincidence permitted Cousin Roland to engage in negotiations to purchase Dynasty Lin’s grapnels. They are, of course, exotic tech from the Dark Age of Technology, and so not only would she sell the grapnels, but also the services of the highly specialized tech priests who can install and operate them. Needless to say, the financial gains we received from Lady-Captain Antigone were wiped away, and more so, by this purchase, but the theory is that they will reap for us a much greater profit in the long run after we start hauling wrecks off the Throne of the Sky Father for rehabilitation or salvage.
Lord Captain Roland also met with Lady-Captain Surma, who continues to look fondly on us for our role in elevating her to her current position. She has made great strides in cementing her legitimacy as a naval port captain and not as a pirate queen. She apparently even drove the renegade Navigator House Virth from the station after they kidnapped her daughter as leverage. Svenya’s skulking about the criminal underworld of the station revealed that the “Council of Nine”, which was apparently the organization that once ran the entire sector’s cold trade from Port Echo, had been shattered, and that the Port was now, as far as could be ascertained, as upstanding and Emperor-fearing a place as any. She did reveal, however, a prior knowledge of the Slaugth, and made no secret of her disgust that Dynasty Starling’s sponsors, the shadowy and immensely wealth Amaranthine Syndicate, appears to have been at least partially infiltrated by the vile xenos. It would seem that the Syndicate sent Elizabeth Starling to Port Constance. Lady-Captain Surma made it clear that while she didn’t have the authority to handle a Rogue Trader captain like Starling and his sister, she could certainly let us handle him.
Svenya just returned from a private conversation with Lord-Captain Lazar Starling, and he looks rather smug. I can only presume he’s taken care of the matter.
And now we’re off to Licenia for repair and to receive our new pilots. A representative of the subsector’s Lord-Fabricator, formerly of the Regency Council, will be meeting us there to negotiate the services of his priests. The plan to make the Aguirre Dynasty more than a one-ship dynasty appears to be well on track.
Cipher Lock Disengaged