The xenos invasion of Damaris was finally over: The Orkish forces of Warboss Snokgritz were scattered and disorganised following the death of their leader, and the ambush from Craftworld Kaelor had ended with the complete destruction of the Eldar fleet facing the fragile yet powerful alliance of the Hos Dynasty, Battlefleet Koronus, the Damaris System Defense Force, Da Ship Eata and Farseer Anaris. Unfortunately with the conclusion of the threat, Captain Locke was manoeuvering her Light Cruiser into an attack run on the Whisper of Anaris, Kap’n Chaintusk was rallying the remainder of the Ork forces under his banner and Astropath Eckhart was leading a boarding party on what was left of the enemy Eldar vessel in order to ensure the death of the Eldar Autarch that had been plaguing them.
The primary concern for Captain Hos was to disarm the situation and prevent further violence between erstwhile allies, especially since his forces were greatly diminished: the In Purgatio Lumen and In Obscurum Veritas had been heavily damaged, and the Emperor’s Bounty had been all but crippled. Explorator Felicis also still had hopes of capturing the Whisper of Anaris for Magos-Commodore Trannarch, and the pair contacted the Battlefleet captain in the hopes of getting her to stand down. Between forcing her to acknowledge the assistance of the Whisper of Anaris in the defense of the system, and their tacit acknowledgement that she was under orders to quit the system and report to her superiors, they were able to persuade the Captain to stand down, and leave the system to make her report. Despite her concern at the two Xenos forces allied with the Hos Dynasty, she nonetheless admitted her respect for their actions in the system’s defense, and would be making a report that would recognise their accomplishments, and diminish any “questionable” actions on their behalf.
In the midst of this discussion, Astropath Eckhart and the Death Bastards landed on the ruined Eldar Eclipse Cruiser to ensure that their foe would not return to plague them further. Making their way through the ship, large portions of the vessel had been destroyed by the torpedo volley from the Under Wry Beginnings, and what few Eldar crew they ran into were very clearly dead. Partway through the hull of the ship, they encountered giant, mobile statues methodically making their way through the corridors of the Cruiser and retrieving soul stones from the bodies of the fallen. Identified as Wraithguard by Captain Hos and Explorator Felicis, the boarding party was paid no attention by the Wraithguard as they methodically swept the ship retrieving the stones from the fallen. Eckhart attempted to grab a random soul stone for his own, but was identified by the Wraithguard as possessing one and elected to surrender the stone to them, rather than risk a confrontation. The subsequent sweep of the fallen did not identify the body of the Eldar Autarch among them, and although the crew hoped that he had simply been slain outright by the battle, they held little hope.
Felicis and Eckhart remained behind with the Veritas and the Bounty to secure any salvageable Eldar artifacts, while Navigator Maturinus and Arch-Militant Caine intimidated the Orks back in line, and forged yet another “treasure map”, this time pointing the Orkish fleet squarely in the middle of Winterscale’s Realm. The Lumen and the Damaris SDF returned to the capital, to find that Rogue Traders Blitz and Orleans had only been lightly challenged during the absence. And with return comes celebration.
As the brainwashing of General Dante also appears to have held, Captain Hos’s tenure as current Governor of the system had gone unchallenged. Although intending to hold true to his bargain of turning control of the system over to Ibram Calgar, he was going to stall for as long as possible in order to get his fleet repaired at The Bulwark. Thus began the thirty-day celebration and victory tour. Nobility parties were attended, feasts and awards were given and the idle rich were entertained with fascinating stories of derring-do and high adventure.
Although Rogue Trader Blitz was more than happy to join in his share of the celebration, Rogue Trader Orleans was absent from a large portion of the festivities. Maturinus and Caine tracked her down to a tour of the outer regions, where she was inspecting the damage caused from the Ork attack and building a list of supplies she would need to retrieve on her next run – though they suspected that something else was behind her reticence.
The day of the great handover finally came, and both ex-Governor Kapak and General Dante gave speeches praising the people of Damaris and the assistance from beyond, and acknowledging the importance of standing together in the face of adversity. Rogue Trader Hos also humbly thanked the people of Damaris, and introduced Calgar as the next Governor to replace him – a role that Calgar refused, and to great acclaim of the crowd insisted that Captain Hos remain Governor of the planet.
Though caught off guard, Jequin Hos was capable of navigating such unexpected social situations on autopilot, which was good as Astropath Eckhart immediately started a Psychic conversation with the Inner Council. Humbly thanking the crowd, the Council made to “discuss the future of this world” and were invited into a meeting with Rogue Trader Orleans, who apologized for the abrupt warning but felt that it was in the best interest of her planet that the Dynasty remain in control of the world – and its defense. She was aware that the Battlefleet was ordered to not protect the world, and the resources of the Hos Dynasty could ensure the security of the planet. To sweeten the deal, she pledged the support of her Transport fleet to support the Dynasty, as their actions could now be said to benefit Damaris, and to turn control of the Envoy of Damaris over to the Hos Dynasty.
Captain Hos was wary about appearing to have been bought in such a fashion, but the rest of the Dynasty still talked him around to accepting the terms. Announcing to the planet that he would be appointing Jorun Alexander as his representative for the time being, the Dynasty made to return to Svard to consolidate their power, and unwind from the intense months of activity. On their way out of the system, they had one final meeting with Farseer Anaris, who thanked them for their support, and hoped that the bonds of friendship between them would continue to grow. He offered to show the Hos Dynasty how to navigate the Eldar Webway in a limited fashion – enough to move between Svard, Damaris and Inti. However, Navigator Maturinus strongly warned against such an option as it was inherently unsafe to rely on Xenos.
Upon their return to Svard, the Dynasty spent the next 100 days restocking their lost crew members, consolidating trade agreements and working on their next plan of action. For the most part the time spent was relaxing and the crew got to unwind, right up until Magos Commodore Gnothis Trannarch arrived in the Ascendence of the Omnissiah and demanded to speak to Artifex Felicis regarding his latest activities. Revealing that he was aware of the Xenotech heresy perpetrated up to now, and the death of Magos Hadron Shard, and that his activities were not beyond monitoring.
Felicis attempted to defend himself by saying his actions were all taken on behalf of Rogue Trader Hos, to which the Magos-Commodore beamed the Rogue Trader to his vessel so Felicis could better explain his actions. Panicked beyond coherence, the Magos teleported Felicis back to the Veritas to discuss matters with the Rogue Trader in private. Once alone, Trannarch succinctly reminded Captain Hos that the forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus were powerful leagues beyond the Rogue Trader’s, but that the research conducted by Explorator Felicis could be useful, as long as he believed that he should be afraid of reprisal. Captain Hos cheerfully accepted the implicit threat by the Magos-Commodore, and pledged to do his best to keep Felicis terrified.
The last order of business came from a meeting between Navigator Maturinus and Navigator Dionisio of House Pazzano, to discuss the blasphemous Eldar Webway that the Farseer had offered access to. Such a thing could potentially destablize the Navis Nobilite, and was unacceptable to both Navigators. Though Dionisio was not prepared to believe the word of a Xenos wholesale, he did agree to send more Pazzano Navigators to aid the Hos Dynasty fleet, and promoted Maturinus to a senior position to better watch over Captain Hos. There were also very clear orders that if the Captain attempted to use this Xenos method of faster-than-light travel, Maturinus was to report him at once for what would almost certainly be execution.
Terms to which Maturinus agreed…