The Licenian Crusade

The Hunt for Hiram Vain

Galer / Neumos

(700 + GE)
(All Present)

Personal Cipher Engaged

Subject: Chasing a Here-tek
Cipher-Lock: Sister Minerva de Liire – Ordo Famulous
Thought for the Day: “A Bargain with Heresy Always Rebounds”

No sooner had our ceremony to annex Galer under the authority of our Dynasty concluded than Cousin Roland’s retainers began to second guess the decision. Although we had not yet consolidated our hold, and had yet to even begin discussing which Imperial authorities we should engage with, and how we might convince the various arms of the Imperium to respect our claim, our Choirmaster became convinced that the here-tek Hiram Vain was a stain upon the planet that would embroil us to our ruin.

Darrius commonly becomes gripped by sudden fears like this one, but this time his words found fertile soil in the mind of our Lord-Captain. A discussion ensued debating what to do about the man in question, the right-hand advisor to our new planetary governess. Darrius pointed out, quite rightly, that Vain had apparently sold his entire mercantile empire to the Amaranthine Syndicate only to vanish into the Licenian subsector where we found him advising the leader of an insurrection. He had apparently brought enough food to support Galer during the violence on Caedicius, but the ships he must have used to bring it were nowhere in evidence. Remembering the legends of the Meritech wars, Darrius speculated that Vain, and his supposed Logician allies, had any number of esoteric technologies available, and feared that there might be nearby fleets cloaked from our auspex arrays via unknown methods. Darrius speculated wildly about the motives of a man like Vain, and ultimately expressed the fear that the mysterious world of Neumos was his ultimate goal, a piece of unknowably powerful technology outside the Imperial norm.

To be fair to Darrius, although much of what he said was rank speculation, there were enough seeds there that an investigation began. It became rapidly apparent that our new governess, the former Queen, was not actually aware that Vain’s technological innovations were heretical. She had been told that the Empire’s technology had changed over the centuries Galer was cut off from the Imperium. She openly showed Cousin Roland an implant that Vain had given her which permits her low-grade telepathy, a fact that rightly horrified him. It was clear that Vain was experimenting with warp-fueled technology of some sort. Darrius discovered a signal in the warp that seemed to infer that Vain himself had set up in the depths of the planet a warp gate of some sort connecting to Tria and that he could move between those planets without need of a ship. This seemed confirmed by Navigator Primaris Demetria’s failure to locate any Navigators in service to Vain and the absence of any ships in the area belonging to him.

The planetary governess indicated that Vain came to their world and offered his knowledge of the politics of the greater Imperium, as well as food, in exchange for access to their planetary archives. Cousin Roland and others descended to Galer’s planetary archive to discover what Vain was after. There, the Adeptus Mechanicus librarian pointed them to a section filled with data involving ancient, pre-Imperial legends of the Licenian Republic, legends of the origins of the Republic, spending a generation on great ark ships from a distant star. There was enough information there to permit a skilled navigator to find Neumos.

Also there were the complete records of Arch-Missionary Vargas Lin, a fact I’m noting for future use as to my knowlege those complete records were lost. Hopefully we can return to Galer sometime soon and transfer those records. Who knows what secrets they will reveal about this subsector.

In any case, it would appear that Darrius’ fears were well-founded. The Here-tek Vain sought Neumos, for reasons as yet unclear. We communicated this matter to Inquisitor Steendahl via astropathy, but such communication can take days, and we needed to decide what to do now.

To add some continued stress to Cousin Roland, Svenya revealed the contents of one of the Inquisitor’s messages which indicates that the Starling siblings are not, in fact, scions of that dynasty, but rather imposters, pretenders to the Starling warrant, and furthermore, that they are distant relatives of Roland’s, scions of Dynasty Aguirre. It was speculated that perhaps this was one of my father’s many schemes, to procure the Starling warrant by some means and prepare cunning distant relations to seize it fraudulently, creating another Rogue Trader dynasty with hidden loyalty to ours. If that was the only part of the plan, I can’t say I would disapprove. Sadly, we already know that the Starlings are deeply indebted to the Amaranthine Syndicate, who we know to be pawns of the xenos Slaugth. The matter came to a head when Elizabeth Starling and her vessel arrives near Galer, apparently seeking to discover if she had won the contract to assume control over the planet.

Upon being informed she was not, she graciously conveyed her compliments to Cousin Roland, who had to decide whether to act forcibly against her to discover her secrets. He ultimately decided that he had enough on his proverbial plate, and left Starling to depart, to be confronted some other day.

We made all due haste to Neumos, unfortunately encountering some warp predators on the way who temporarily disabled our Nova cannon. Fortunately the faith of Missionary Tyrian and the martial talents of Svenya, Steihr, Darrius, and Cousin Roland removed the daemonic gremlins and our journey continued apace, taking a mere 4 days of a theoretical 14.

Upon arriving, we found no sign of a feared Logician fleet. We contacted the Inquisitorial base on Neumos’ moon and discovered that Steendahl was not present. We invited Inquisitor Vallenti aboard, along with his… daemonic associate. The meal we had was unpleasant, but productive. It would appear that our warning to Steendahl was timely. A ship had arrived a mere four hours before we did, encountered the Inquisitorial interdiction satellites, and then departed. Thanks to our warning, however, the Inquisition noted signs of teleportarium-use, and Inquisitor Steendahl and his entourage, along with the psyker Marduk, descended to the planet to find Vain. Considering our own history with the planet, Vallenti granted us leave to descend if we so wished.

Cousin Roland, ever the valorous, took his companions and descended to the planet below. They have entered one of the vast temples, and descended into the infinite labyrinth of Neumos’ inner workings. I can only hope they return sane and hale.

Cipher Lock Disengaged

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