Zacharya Caine could remember nothing following his decision to get the Augmetic Man installed. There was the darkness overtaking him as he faded into slumber, and then almost seamlessly the awakening as Magos Toronos stood over him, performing the final steps of maintenance. He was informed that the operation was a success, although this was his fourth awakening and as he had yet to begin screaming or resorting to violence, there was a strong suspicion that this time it was successful and would probably not result in mental breakdown.
Getting a clean bill of health and politely refusing the offer of Chem-Gelding to finalize the physical perfection, he was asked to engage in normal, disgustingly organic behaviour as he saw fit. Meeting up with Aleena Roe to discuss news of Captain Hos and the mission to Grace. Although there was no news out of the Dynasty, there was a message from Erasmus Boldt regarding a personal favour requested of a clandestine agent for a personal favour.
Meeting with the flamboyant grain trader aboard the low-gravity Bounty Rab, he was seeking an agent to investigate a friend of the family, who suspected that her husband was up to something… unsavoury. Although initially suspecting infidelity, Boldt quickly corrected the Arch-Militant that among the nobility such liaisons are commonplace and not to be trifled. He suspected that the matter might be more scandalous or even dangerous for the lady in question.
Arranging a meeting inside his private quarters, Caine met with Aurora Neena to inquire exactly what the matter was, the breathless young noble informed him that her husband, Castus Klein, had gone beyond the normal noble dalliances and may have moved into drug trading – an affair that would bring the Arbites down on her family. She needed proof of her husband’s complacency in this matter that she could present to prove her innocence, offering her house’s gratitude – and her own personal gratitude to her saviour.
Overcome by her charms, Caine agreed to intercept the husband at Bloodstone, the local scummer bar in Port Wander. Taking Roe as a non-descript agent, he attempted to secure a non-obvious seat where he could observe the coming threat. However before the meeting, they were intercepted by a pair of apparent free-lance agents: a tall overly-muscled brute and his smaller, more aggressive companion who Lieutenant Roe identified as an Arbites Officer. Warning off the “civilians” in this matter, Caine attempted to intimidate them into backing off, but for the first time in his life met an enemy who was his equal in the art of growling and getting his way.
Embarrassed in front of the patrons Caine retreated to a darker corner where he could watch the proceedings. He did not have to wait long before Klein showed up to meet with Jordan Roth and her band of thugs. Using his enhanced senses to learn that the meeting involved delivery of an unknown drug, Caine used his new augmented body to beat the gangers to the docking bay and gain access to the vessel through a mixture of the correct password and intimidation. Led aboard ship as he demanded to inspect the cargo, he was taken the cargo bay and unceremoniously shoved in before the hatch was sealed.
His new eyes instantly adapted to the gloom, and he was trapped in the room with a score of Xenos that he nicknamed the Silent Death. Realising that the creatures were blind, he used his integrated grenade launcher to distract the creatures with explosions, and slice his way through the bulkhead back into the hall. Quickly dispatching the two guards, he interrogated his captor but once learning that he knew nothing, shoved him into the hole where he was quickly torn apart by the Xenos. Dispatching the creatures as they came through the hole, he then made his escape.
Capturing a crew member, Caine learned that the so-called drugs were a processed form of the flesh from the Xenos in the hold, and were being delivered into the Koronus Expanse for parts unknown. Armed with enough knowledge, he returned to the Neena-Klein estate to confront the corrupt noble. Sending Roe off to find the platoon to escort the prisoner in force to the Arbites, he took Aurora in and confronted Castus with the proof of his corruption and decadence. His speech was cut short however, by a blast from a concealed weapon held by Aurora behind him.
The noblewoman revealed herself to be a more cunning manipulator than first believed. Caine eventually saw through her deception and realised she was aiming an unusual weapon at him, which he quickly managed to dodge. As Aurora retreated in the confusion, she shouted a command phrase that turned the house Servitors into deadly combatants which charged the Arch-Militant. Zacharya’s superior combat skills easily overpowered the creatures though, and Aurora attempted to make her escape only to be intercepted at the door by the two men from earlier, the larger of the two easily incapacitating the escaping woman.
Pleading for her life, the shorter of the pair revealed himself to be agents of the Inquisition, who needed the woman captured by order of their Inquisitor. Depsite Aurora’s pleas for help, Caine was unmoved and stood as the brutish man injected her with a compound that rendered her unconscious. The two Inquisitorial agents then offered Caine membership in their band, promising him an explanation for the events that were plaguing both their sector and the Koronus Expanse beyond. The former Arbites taunted Caine when he hesitated saying that the Arch-Militant was not as tough as he claimed, whereas the other persuaded that he would ultimately choose to do what’s right.
Although Caine was non-committal, the knowledge that he was not being asked to betray the Lord Captain clearly struck a chord, and he seemed to be on the verge of deciding in favour. As a show of good faith, the two Inquisitorial agents revealed their true names, and promised that if Caine would say yes all would become clear. And it was in the ruined quarters of the noble district on Port Wander, Zacharya Caine met Nixios Nullvoid and Varn Einholtz and they discussed a situation that threatened to engulf the whole sector…