The bounty from the Righteous Path was more than I had imagined. My House’s contacts will make sure we maximize the profit from this haul, but there are two items of concern, for me at least. The suit of power armor we found is emblazoned with the insignia of House Ryn – an influential House in the military and elsewhere – and is obviously the personal armor of Lorcus Ryn, a Lord Commander it seems, judging by the insignias and decorations. I have determined that I will personally return this armor to the highest-ranking member of the Ryn family that I can locate. Emperor-willing, we’ll at least begin building a business relationship though I hope for more, given the importance of this armor. Also, I must confess that were this armor from my -family, I would want it returned and would take umbrage at anyone outside the family parading around in it. Pride, I suppose, is what really compels me to return this armor, and not some vague hope for more thrones in the House’s coffers._
The other is the power pack which no longer has a charge. It is emblazoned with an insignia from the Adeptus Astarte – more specifically, from the famous Storm Wardens. Space Marines are a notoriously insular lot, unfriendly to outsiders to say the least. If, however, we can return a relic – even one completely depleted of energy after thousands of years in the Void – we may at least be able to ingratiate ourselves with the mightiest fighting force in the Koronus Expanse. I hold no illusions here, either; this will be but a minor step on the road to building a relationship. I only hope the hoops we must dive through to contact these particular Space marines will not involve too many entanglements.
The Dawn ‘s return to the wretched hive known as Footfall was a welcome relief. The patches used to shore up the punctured hull were no replacement for actual service by the Adeptus Mechanicus. But first thing was first; offloading the Xenos artifacts plundered from the Righteous Path ‘s long-dead corpse. Over the course of the next four weeks, while the necessary repairs are being conducted, House Martellus’ factor, a deferential woman named Ariadne, shifted literally tons of treasure off the Dawn and the proceeds into the coffers of the Family. It was a mighty haul indeed, allowing the House to begin to recover from its most recent misfortunes with startling suddenness; a few more plunders like this and the House will surpass its pinnacle and make the Lord Captain the darling of the House, if not the de facto head.
But if the treasure were a thing to celebrate, Lord Captain Martellus seemed to take no notice. He had been rather dour and taciturn on the passage back to Footfall, even missing out on the regular nightly carousing Bruce had instituted amongst the command crew; to “keep ourselves sharp-like and ready to foight off a Death Koala withou’ flinchin’” he had said, though everyone knew the Arch-Militant was merely looking for an excuse to become inebriated. Instead, Sabastion spent much time looking over the old Power Armor as if assessing a new ship or trying to get the suit to tell its story of the three-thousand years between its last owner and its current.
“I could wear it, you know. It’d help me pilot better.” Killean’s voice interrupted his reverie.
“That would be a sight, I’m sure. You ripping out the controls with your augmented strength.” Sabastion deadpanned.
“Well, not all the time. Just during planet-side visits. Especially Ork-infested planets” Killean’s voice trailed off as the recent brush with death flooded his mind’s eye. The Ork Choppa coming down on his head…
“We’re giving it back.” Sabastion retorted in a heavy voice, as if a part of him dreaded the prospect.
“Oh, that will be fun.” Killean replied sardonically
“It gets better.” Sabastion sighed “We’re returning the Power Pack to the Storm Wardens. Its seals and insignias are pretty compelling…and it’s dead weight with no charge.”
Killean shrugged “Whatever we can do to get on their good side.” With that he sauntered off to the Command Crew galley for Bruce’s all-night “fortitude training.”
Sabastion raised an eyebrow, always surprised at the inscrutable pilot’s attitudes. Shrugging to himself, he decided he’d been moping about long enough and headed to his cabin. On the vox-caster there was a recorded message from the House Factor regarding the possibility of a job or two now that the fame of the Dawn ‘s haul had gotten out. It seemed that there was a thirst for the blasphemous among certain well-heeled elites. Sabastion contacted Ariadne directly to tell her to keep tabs on the offers and to add another burden to her to-do dataslate.
“Find information about the whereabouts of my Father, Aurelius” Sabastion ordered when the Factor showed up at the Dawn a hour later.
The Factor was thoughtful for a moment and replied “Lord Captain, I have actually taken the liberty to begin gathering some information along those lines. It seems a Voidsman named Matthias Dorn mentioned seeing your father, nigh unto twenty years ago, and might have at least some inkling as to his current whereabouts. Dorn was last seen heading to Port Wander to sign on with a ship heade to the Expanse.”
“Well done, Ariadne.” Sabastion replied, truly impressed, and made a mental note to find more interesting – and profitable – work for her as soon as possible.
The trip through the Maw was not nearly as eventful as the prior one. The ships were gone, presumably retrieved by the Warp Tugs and Reclamation crews and on their way to Port Wander themselves. Instead, the Dawn ‘s captain exchanged rumors with some other ships getting their bearings at The Battlefield. It seems there was a rather sizable bounty on any information leading to a navigable route through the Warp Storms around the Foundling Worlds. Better yet, there seemed to be increased pirate activity in the approaches to the region as well. Sabastion felt he could definitely sink his teeth – and the Dawn ‘s, into some pirate hunting, but wasn’t foolish or desperate enough to chart a path through Warp Storms. At least not yet.
Port Wander was the same as it ever was. While Jezz was off procuring more equipment for the crew and ship, Sabastion and Killean headed off to the repair yards to secure the necessary components for the captured raiders and cargo hauler. Though the ships had not yet arrived (which was not surprising given the plodding pace most Tugs set), Sabastion wanted the parts and components in place before they arrived. Through hard bargaining, he was able to secure everything but a commerce bridge for the hauler; the merchants must have smelled blood in the water after a while because the bargaining got increasingly difficult and the prices ludicrously high by the end of the meeting.
Afterward, the entire command crew paid a visit to Lieutenant Abezo again, this time seeking information about House Ryn representatives; it seemed a certain Vice Admiral Publius Ryn was on patrol in the Koronus Expanse, somewhere in the proximity of Passagewatch, but his exact whereabouts were unknown. He was on pirate-hunting patrols and was under the command of Lord Admiral Thorne and would probably not put into port for months yet. Then the crew turned their path toward the only Adeptus office that would be able to put them in contact with the Storm Wardens; the Inquisitor’s office.
Nobody normally sets foot in the Inquisition’s offices without good reason, but Sabastion was feeling brave and perhaps a little heady at the chance of finding a lead on his long-lost father’s whereabouts, so he pressed the blessings of the Omnissiah a bit further. The Inquisitor Thomason was an imposing, even intimidating, man even when he was being cordial. His one organic eye was hard and black, like frozen jet. He had a cybernetic eye that scanned the crew constantly and his cybernetic left hand was a stern gun metal gray; simple and functional.
“Inquisitor Thomason. On our exploration of the Koronus Expanse, near the Burnscale, we found a derelict ship with a suit of Power Armor and a power source on it. The power source has all the marking of the Adeptus Astarte…more specifically, the Storm Wardens. We would like to return heir long-lost property.” Sabastion motioned his hand and an image of the power source from his Pict-Caster sprung to life on the table in the conference room.
“Interesting. And those are most definitely the Storm Warden’s markings. How did you come by it again?” Thomason inquired casually
“On our explorations in the Burnscale. The God-Emperor smiled upon us and we found a wrecked hulk drifting in an asteroid field. When we boarded, we found this and a suit of Power Armor.” Sabastion replied, casually omitting the rest of the treasure.
“And the suit, what of it?” Thomason pressed
“Though powered by this source, it was a personal suit owned by Lorcus Ryn and adorned with his family crest. We intend to return it to the House as soon as possible.” Sabastion replied casually. Though this exchange was friendly, and the Dawn did not have a reputation for illicit activity, it was nonetheless a dangerous encounter and every move in this verbal exchange was as dangerous as the battle with the Fel Hand .
Inquisitor Thomason pressed a few more questions, revisiting the location of the hulk, the nature of the find, and so on. Sabastion remained steadfastly on topic, refusing the bait to let something slip about the xenos artifacts. Eventually, perhaps deciding the exchange was not worth the effort to uncover possible wrongdoing, Inquisitor Thomason relented and agreed to have a representative of the Storm Wardens arrive at Port Wander in a few weeks. Sabastion thanked him and moved purposefully – though not quickly – for the door.
Back aboard the Dawn a pair of messages awaited Sabastion; it seemed that the recent buying spree to repair the captured ships had garnered the attention of the Adeptus Mechanicus – in exchange for the repairs, the Adeptus expected a favor in return to be specified at a later date. The Lord Captain agreed briefly, surprised it would only be one favor given the magnitude of the repairs involved. The second caught his attention – Matthias Dorn has asked to sign on as part of the crew. Since the Dawn was indeed replenishing its crew, the request was not unusual, but the God-Emperor must have smiled in order to have the very man Sabastion was looking for inquire about a job.
In the brief interview that followed, Sabastion found out several things. First, his father was last seen hunting pirates out by the Crystal Cays. Second, his father was sighted eighteen years ago, which was two years later than Sabastion expected. And third, when Dorn got evasive about the nature of the ship he was on when he encountered Aurelius’ Equum Malus , Sabastion instantly knew the man had been one of the crew of a pirate ship. Sabastion welcomed the man aboard and set him in charge of some non-essential duties with a mental note to have him watched, especially when they pull into a port.
Since the Dawn was already in the Calixis sector, and with Killean’s prodding, the Sabastion ordered a run to Scintillus Prime, the Calixis Sector’s capital planet. A mere day or so after the Vengeful Hammer of Dawn entered the Warp, everything went to hell…literally. There were no less than three demonic incursions, despite the Geller Field. The first, a group of Hellspawn appeared in one of the holds and needed to be wiped out. The second, a slavering platoon of gibbering demons literally manifested out of the walls and ate hundreds of crewmen before being put down. The final was a green, slimy, tentacle thing which manifested in a barracks, eating literally thousands of Aboriginal tribescrew before the Command Crew could finally corner it and burn its gelatinous hide.
It was with great relief that the crew gazed upon thecrystalline structures of the Hive world of Scintillus Prime. Sabastion ordered a rotation of shore leave for the next week, as well as more crew to replenish the thousands who had perished en route to the planet. After a few inquiries, Jezz located several manufacturers able to supply the Dawn with every weapon, piece of equipment, and any other sundry item the crew’s heart desired. She even secured some cargo for the return trip to Port Wander, aiming to supply the Battlefleet stationed there with any goods that were not standard issue. As if to ameliorate the horrors of the passage to Scintillus Prime, fate smiled upon Sabastion as some quick inquiries revealed that a scion of House Ryn was actually a noble on this planet and would be most happy to receive this House heirloom. Ludwig Ryn, it seemed, also wanted this to be an occasion to throw a lavish party. Sabastion got the feeling Ludwig was always looking for a reason to throw a party. With a sigh, he made for his cabin to get dressed for the occasion. He only hoped it would not be a boring affair full of sycophants and stuffed shirts.