(700 + GE)
Personal Cipher Engaged
Subject: A Distasteful Obligation
Cipher-Lock: Sister Minerva de Liire – Ordo Famulous
Thought for the Day: “The Love of Thrones is the Root of all Evil”
The quote above comes from an ascetic sect, and I never before gave much thought to it. After all, the pursuit of wealth and power can provide powerful tools for the faithful, and it was ultimately upon that reasoning that cousin Roland made a decision that I sincerely hope won’t cause significant harm to this Dynasty.
After ensuring that our other ships were gainfully engaged in transporting ship hulks and parts to Port Aguirre, we met to discuss what our next course of action should be. Two potential avenues rose to the top. First, we could return to the Eldar of Craftworld Aletheia and trade to them the data-crystals recovered from the hold of the Children of Thorns vessel we salvaged off of the Throne of the Sky Father. The other option was to deal with the planet of Galer.
The Imperium is currently engaged in stamping out the last vestiges of the Licenian Regency in an ongoing hot-war on the planet of Caedicius. The forces of the Licenian High Marshall, along with the daemon-cultists and assassins of the Veiled Mask have made that agri-world their bastion and much in the way of Imperial materiel has been dedicated to resolving that problem. This has left the secessionist insurrection of the former prison-world of Galer relatively unremarked upon and untouched.
We reviewed what we knew of Galer… namely that it had been the prison planet for the ancient Licenian Republic, back when their lack of warp technology required a ten-year travel time between Licenia and Galer. It was the planet to which they sent their undesirables, a place so distant that often by the time they arrived, they had children of their own. A place from which there was no likely return. Over the unknown millenia of the Republic, Galer developed its own culture, it’s own non-criminal population, supplemented by fresh supplies of criminals every so often. After the Angevin Crusade, and the introduction of warp travel to the former Licenian Republic, Galer continued to be the traditional prison planet for the subsector, and this tradition apparently continued during the seven hundred years of warp storms and governance by the Licenian Regent. Now, the population was agitating for independence from the Licenian Imperial governor, but due to its remote location and general lack of political influence, it has been low on the agenda thus far.
Cousin Roland decided that we would resolve this insurgency, perhaps a bit optimistically. Galer has a population of a billion and a half, all living below-ground in sprawling hives that were converted from ancient mining tunnels. Military conquest seemed… unlikely. But Roland has great faith in the power of his diplomacy, and so we engaged our warp engines and made our way to Galer.
Upon arrival, we noticed the planet had six vessels in defensive orbits. They hailed us and requested we stay at least a hundred thousand kilometers away while a representative of the “Queen” of Galer came to speak with us. This we did, while a shuttle came to the Forgehammer.
The representative of the “Queen” introduced himself as Hiram Vain, a name that rang little bells in my mind that I had to think on. Vain’s two bodyguards aroused some suspicion and curiosity from Missionary Tyrian as well as our Master of Ordinance, Steihr Mandis. It would seem that the battle armor and high-tech rifles were… not entirely martian in origin, a suspicion confirmed with others of our group noticed that Vain himself seemed to possess extraordinarily subtle cybernetic enhancements of a pattern and make unknown to us.
Cousin Roland made his pitch, that Imperial conquest was inevitable and that he could help broker their surrender in exchange for trade concessions. Vain then countered by referencing Rogue Trader Dynasty Vallenti, renowned for their ownership and control of the planet Rubrica, among other things, and proposing that Dynasty Aguirre annex the entire planet of Galer, placing it among the Dynasty’s possessions, and insulating it from greater Imperial oversight.
The proposal came as a bit of a surprise. Apparently, the citizens of Galer are used to being mostly ignored by the greater Imperium, and have developed a culture and a society they would prefer to retain. Now that the warp storms have abated, they are soliciting Rogue Trader dynasties to annex their planet in exchange for the aforementioned Dynasty permitting them to continue with their autonomy. They were currently in negotiations with Dynasty Flamel, as well as Dynasty Starling.
Cousin Roland and the rest of us retired to discuss the offer. It was clear that Vain had his own agenda. His name finally rang a bell with me as well as with a few others. He had, until recently, been the owner and head of Vain Mercantile Enterprises, a chartist merchant organization in the greater Ixaniad sector. It was apparent that he might have here-tek sympathies, perhaps even Logician tendencies, and his persona interest appeared to be a planet, insulated from Imperial oversight, where he could practice and develop his unsanctioned technologies. That said, an entire planetary output would seriously increase our power and wealth, and so long as Vain’s heretical notions were not widespread on the planet, and so long as they evaded other Imperial notice, the Aguirre warrant might, in fact, successfully prevail in its claim against other Imperial agencies, especially considering our extensive contacts among those agencies.
Much of the debate circled the apparent fact that by taking this planet, we’d be aiding and concealing a heretical cult. In our conversation with Vain, and our own knowledge and suspicions, it seemed clear that the Logicians, in in fact that’s who they were, had no love for the daemon or the alien. Their heresies were aimed squarely at the Adeptus Mechanicus, and that they were otherwise firm in their commitment to human supremacy.
The argument was put forward that if Flamel won this contract then the cult would never be dealt with, but if we succeed in staking our ownership of the planet, then we would be in an excellent position to deal with the cult. That was the argument that eventually won the day, and cousin Roland informed Vain that we would meet with the “Queen” to negotiate for her planet.
Lady Mira Kyrathis, “Queen” of Galer, met cousin Roland and his party over a light lunch. She was cybernetically augmented to an unusual degree, but none of it appeared to be Vain’s work. She was relatively straightforward with Roland, pointing out Galer’s history, and its desire to continue to govern itself without a disruptive “re-conquest” or (perhaps more tellingly) without a re-evaluation of their Imperial tithe grade. It would appear the last official Imperial survey was eight centuries ago, and Galer’s means of production has subsequently expanded. Part of the offer was that, under a Rogue Trader’s rulership, that excess could be pocketed as profit in exchange for a hands-off approach to governance, and retaining the “Queen” under whatever title the ruling Dynasty wished to award.
Roland asked some probing questions about heresies or other troubles. The “Queen” was forthcoming about having ousted the previous “Warden” (a hereditary title) for being an agent of the Veiled Mask, and leading a purge of Regency sympathizers in order to start her “insurrection.”
Roland then made what I’m informed was an eloquent and impassioned pitch that although Dynasty Flamel was richer and more powerful in a broad way, their unsavory practices risked even more Imperial attention which Galer clearly did not wish. Furthermore, Dynasty Aguirre had specialized contacts among the local navy and Ecclesiarchy that Flamel could not match. She seemed impressed, and indicated they could expect a decision in days.
Cousin Roland then met with Orion, Lady-Captain Flamel’s local representative, to discuss… contingencies. There was some back and forth, but they reached a side-arrangement. Should Dynasty Aguirre win the contract, Dynasty Flamel would not use their extensive networks to sabotage Aguirre’s attempts to consolidate official ownership of the planet in exchange for 40% of all post-taxation output for five years.
While they waited, Missionary Tyrian made the acquaintance of some of the local faithful. Proximity to Tria apparently has seeded Galer with an array of competing religious sects, all battling for supremacy. It would seem that the official government of Galer has long given free reign to the competing religious sects to engage in open and covert religious warfare in exchange for their unified aid in rooting out psykers born to the populace and chaos cultists. Despite the bloody competition between sects, many of which we would consider quite heretical, Galer appears to have very little problem with chaos cults or rogue psykers as a result of this system.
Choirmaster Darrius met with Galer’s “planetary psyker”, an old man named Angus Fallow, who, like other psykers of the old Regency, was incredibly potent, if not altogether sane. It wouldn’t surprise me if our Navigator Primaris met with her counterpart in Orion’s party as well.
Ultimately, the “Queen” chose Aguirre, in a ceremony with the full governing council of the planet, and Flamel’s representatives. Now comes the difficult and engaging task of convincing the Lord-Sector and all aspects of the greater Imperium that this planet now belongs to us.
First, though, came a meeting between cousin Roland and Lady-Captain Callista Flamel herself. It would appear that the 40% deal offered by Orion held up, and notwithstanding her disappointment at having lost out on such a profitable endeavor, she proposed a… loosening of the traditional rivalry, based on the reality that Roland was not contesting her Cold Trade market as his predecessor was wont to do. As a gesture of good faith, they both had a conversation about the Amaranthine Syndicate. Roland informed her of their alien Slaugth connections, and she informed him that they had… dramatically expanded their power, having co-opted the entirety of Lord-Captain Finn’s covert pirate and smuggling network as well as being the purchasers, through third parties, of Hiram Vain’s entire mercantile interests.
As well as marking a concerning leap in power and wealth for the a xenos-controlled organization, it also raised more questions about the new “planetary governess” of Galer’s advisor. Why did he sell everything to the Syndicate? What is he doing with all that money?
It would appear, though, that for now, Aguirre and Flamel have common cause to engage in clandestine trade-warfare with the Amaranthine Syndicate. We will see what opportunities present themselves as we make our rounds through the Sector convincing our various allies and contacts to pull strings to grant us full control of Galer and it’s resources.
Cipher Lock Disengaged