It has been too long since I last penned my memoirs of the undertakings of my Lord and his crew. Suffice to say that I have valid reasons for my tardiness, as you will soon come to understand.
Events on Malfi went as smoothly as could be expected after the ludicrous charges against our vessel had been dropped, with only the bartering for supplies and lengthy submission of departure authorisation documents and the hiring of new Astropaths to take up our time. I must admit, I have come to loathe spending too much time on planets, too much weight on the soul as my old mentor would say.
We were once again escorted out of system by local defence ships, an unnecessary precaution after the mess we made of the last band of brigands that attacked us. I suppose they felt that it was the least they could do after treating us with suspicion, that or they felt we still posed some sort of threat to their system’s security… Regardless, we had received no news of our attackers, human or xenos, since our arrival at Malfi, and expected no admission of security breach what with the pride of the system defence fleet at stake. I am merely grateful that we made it to the warp point without incident, exchanged the customary niceties, then left that vile den of intrigue far behind us.
Our Navigator Prime had assured us of a smooth passage through the warp, so when reports of shadowy figures and noises in the bilge decks started to filter upwards from the low-rank ratings, no attention was paid. Largely comprised of barbaric criminal filth, these low-rank crewmen were known for their lies, superstition and unintelligent ramblings at the slightest portent or omen. Still, as the report grew, and the odd scrap of evidence, such as a missing crewman or scrap of unknown uniform came into the hands of the ship’s security enforcers; we prepared for the worst. Supplications to the machine spirit and Empoeror alike failed to stop these strange visitations. With the crew growing uneasy and our vessel still over a week from breaking warp, Chief Bosun Holt, First officer rediqut and my Lord Von Trieger had their work cut out for them, dispersing currency to the greedy, commands to the weak of will or loyal, and beatings to those ingrates who stood against their rightful authority.
The source of these disturbances made itself rudely known to us during a night-cycle aboard ship, the dark-shift crews alerting the bridge of multiple explosions near to vital life-support and food stores. As the reports flowed in, we became aware of the extent of the damage; hardly any structural systems had been impaired, but we have just over 100 crew dead and a large portion of food stores obliterated. being only a week out of port, this had little effect on our ability to travel, but nonetheless those stores represented a large investment in both resources and manpower on the part of the dynasty. Furious with this desecration of his home, my Lord orders First officer Rediqut and Chief Bosun Holt to immediately find and apprehend those responsible for this travesty, whilst instructing Enginseer Prime Tyrax to find a way of locating them using the internal augers of the ship.
As Master rediqut and Mistress Holt went to work, discovering devices that had failed to go off or had not yet been instructed to do so, Explorator Tyrax made great progress with the arcane rites of tech-scrying, activating many redundant audio-visual security systems with with my Lord could monitor vital areas of the ship. Though the images were of poor quality, it was readily apparent that there were just over a dozen men in what looked like stolen clothing from those men who had gone missing, barricading themselves into the vitae-life-support-system control room. Though these controls could be slaved to the Mechanicus shrine in the engine room, Explorator Tyrax was visibly distressed at the thought of the arcane machinery keeping the air flowing around the Eternal Quaestor being vandalised. Our mercenary squad was called to muster, and my Lord and his command staff made best speed to the site of the intrusion, vengeance writ upon their very motion.
The blast doors to the room were quickly over-ridden, the technologically enhanced cognition of Enginseer Prime Tyrax quickly overcoming the primitive machine-spirit holding the door fast. A hail of las-bolts and projectile rounds sprayed from within the smoky interior of the room, one of our mercenaries taking a round centre-chest, but merely grunting as his armour took the hit. In return, the professionally directed fire of our hireling comrades elicited a series of shrieks and wails that could only be indicative of mortal wounds.
To be continued…