I am never more in my element than when I am at my throne aboard the Dawn but I am a child of the nobility and feel only slightly less at ease with the upcoming reception that Ludwig Ryn has promised to throw us in honor of the return of his ancestor’s power armor. I only hope that I will not find the host or guests too insufferable.
Strange. I never thought of myself as the adventurous sort before. How many hundreds of parties have I been to in my lifetime? And yet they now do not hold the fascination they once did. Now all I can think of is returning to the Void and pursuing profit.
“Smut!” Killean blurted out as the Command Staff was mulling over its options on how to turn a profit while returning the ancient power armor.
“Come again?” Sabastion replied.
“Listen, all these military-types have one thing on their mind the entire time they’re on duty; what will I do when I’m off duty. I say we get them smut. Or booze. Or both.” The pilot replied
It made sense; not only was it legal, though of base caliber, it was profitable.
“And we can throw in some other items, like personal protection or other entertaining items.” Jezz interjected thoughtfully “maximize our market while diversifying our product offerings.”
It was settled then. On Scintillus, in the days before the ‘Most Lavish Party Ever,’ the crew would be looking to find a producer of pornography, alcohol, and some light personal weaponry to sell to the military crew stationed on Port Wander – they were, after all, the only ones with reliable income and a frustratingly boring job to whet the appetite for adventure.
Killean was keen to arm the crew with shotguns as well; given the three incursions by Demons on the trip to Scintillus, it was understandable. Perhaps out of boredom and perhaps partly to assess how his House could establish a mercantile presence on the Capital world of the Calixis Sector, Sabastion accompanied the pilot and Jezzebel to the weaponry manufactorum.
Perfunctory background checks led to a rather quick reception by a Factor of the manufactorum; it seemed word of the recent influx of wealth to the House coffers had already begun to trickle into the Calixis Sector as well. The agent, a man of refined tastes and seamless prosthetics, spoke at length with Jezz and Killean about the kinds of weapons offered by the various manufacturers.
“you do not make the weapons yourself?” Sabastion asked casually
“No, my Lord Martellus. We are a wholesaler who contracts with various producers of fine implements of destruction. We can supply you with anything you might need, as far as personal armament would go.” The Factor, Victor, replied.
“Really?” Sabastion mused “How about some personal defense whilst at ‘The Most Lavish Party Ever’?”
“Of course, My Lord. We have a variety of single-shot bolt-canes. Might I show you one of our finest?” victor replied, motioning to a pict-caster which projected a variety of styles of canes. In the negotiations that ensued, the cane and a matching targeting monocle were ‘gifts’ in gratitude for such a lucrative relationship with the House Martellus’ finest ship, the Vengeful Hammer of Dawn .
“You took advantage of him a bit, Jezz.” Sabastion noted to his Seneschal.
“Of course I did. He would have done the same to us, had I let him.” Jezz remarked off-handedly
“He had it coming.” Killean interjected. “Cursed weasel had tried to pawn off those cheap knock-offs instead of the auto-loaders we need.”
“Indeed. We should not let anyone ever think they can fool house Martellus or the crew of the Dawn . I was just remarking that Jezz seemed to take it easy on him.” Sabastion quipped
Jezz made a disgusted grunt “I’d like to see you do better. Either of you.”
Sabastion only smiled as the crew made their way back to the Dawn .
The day of the party, the crew of the Dawn received packages – gifts from the Lord Captain – containing matching sapphire-blue uniforms with House Martellus insignias upon the breast; A hammer crossed with a las-pistol over an eight-pointed star burst background. Each uniform would be functional as well; grav belts and conversion field generators were designed to look like part of the uniform. It never hurt to be careful at these parties; suddenly-discharged hidden weapons or a short bump from a ten kilometer high high-rise to the hive ground below were both common party ‘accidents.’
The party was simultaneously everything Sabastion had remembered elite gatherings to be, and yet the nothing at all like the ones he grew up with. Instead of foppish dilettantes and their vapid consorts, this party was filled with military men – mostly Calixis Battlefleet officers and industrialists of the highest reputation. Ludwig Ryn himself had the bearing and demeanor of a former military man; rigid, handsome, and more than capable of commanding respect in any room let alone at his own party. Sabastion instantly admired him.
The dueling speeches – one presenting the armor, the other accepting – were well-thought and respectful yet not overburdened with florid prose or cloying false sentiment. Sabastion was barely settling into the evening, chatting with Ludwig Ryn when a crash from across the room heralded his worst fears; Bruce at a party.
he had taken a shine to one particular canape that was being served and made it his mission to eat every one coming out of the kitchens. So when a new tray happened to come out of an unexpected door, Bruce had virtually charged toward the poor waiter, knocking over a tray full of glasses en route to his prize. The Australius IV native hardly seemed to notice, only stopping to proffer a half-eaten snack to a horrified female guest.
Despite Bruce’s multiple faux pas , the evening went surprisingly well. Ludwig Ryn turned out to be an honorable man as well as a gracious host. Sabastion and he traded stories of their families throughout the night; Ludwig even accepted the idea of a deeper relationship between House Ryn and House Martellus fairly well – time would tell how this relationship would grow, but at least the seeds had been planted.
When he wasn’t monopolizing the host’s time, Sabastion made the rounds of the military officers at the gathering, particularly a craggy Vice Admiral by the name of Itsaac Bator. Admiral Bator, it turned out, remembered seeing Sabastion’s father over fifteen years before – he believed the elder Martellus was hunting pirates in the Crystal Cayes. Pirates, it seems, were notorious in their use of the Cayes’ native warp storms to hide from Passagewatch in the Expanse and private pirate hunters like the elder Martellus filled a vital role in curtailing their activities, thus freeing the fleet to secure more of the sector.
Killean was also having quite a night as well, though with a different goal in mind; finding more treasures from ages gone by. Luckily, his role as pilot made him military enough that the junior officers – at least the young ones with more bravado than brains – accept him as one of their own. Throughout the night, he collected a series of rumors, scuttlebutt, and information to piece together a tantalizing clue to another possible hidden treasure trove. And as luck would have it, it was rumored to be lost somewhere in the Crystal Cayes. Certainly the Omnissiah had been smiling on the crew that night. Even Bruce’s bull in a china shop reputation had a silver lining; he seemed to have caught the eye of a woman who was bent on upsetting her father in the most embarrassing and public way possible and decided to seduce Bruce in the coat-check room. At least it kept him from nearly assaulting any more hapless servants.