While the In Purgatio Lumen and crew set off for Cog in the hopes of bringing the Adeptus Mechanicus back into the fight for Svard, a second mission was assigned to Arch-Militant Zacharya Caine: Take the restored Svard Defense Force Frigate and reclaim the world of Exclusion. Once Ravion Tayber finished repairs on the second Frigate, Captain Lindsay Garret took the Arch-Militant in her vessel to the far off colony of the Adeptus Arbites.
Briefed on his journey by Saira Nelken on the facility, Caine understood his two goals were to extract the local Svard citizenry, as several of them were linked to the planetary nobility, and bring the local Arbites and Enforcers back to Svard to help deal with the crisis. On approach to the World, the orbitting Wayfarer system was detected in a low-power standby mode with thousands of workers clustered around the primary boarding areas. The Frigate was also hailed from the planet by Vartan Andreev, who was revealed to be a former prisoner on the planet and claimed that the Arbites and Enforcers were now in the cells. Deciding that charging into that situation would be dangerous, the Arch-Militant boarded the void station with the 9th Hossian Platoon, the Svardic PDF and his personal aide, Callidus Astor.
The Void Station was still functional, but most of its key systems were shut down. Lay-Priest Kremple identified that the system had been deliberately set in hibernation, but could be made functional again. Exploring the station, Arch-Militant Caine discovered that the staff on board were a mixture of Arbites and Imperial Navy personnel who had been ordered to stay behind by Envoy Nathaniel Kaal. The Envoy instructed all Imperial personnel to withdraw from the system, and those who remained behind were left on the Void Station to await further orders. The Arbites Senioris locked down the station following a riot on the prison facility and went down to contain the situation.
Learning all he needed, Caine prepared to depart for the surface. Before he left he demanded of Andreev to speak to the Arbites Senioris, but the Voxlink was taken away by Raoul Anwell who demanded that the Arch-Militant immediately extract all the Svardic citizenry. Threatening the Arch-Militant did not go over very well, and Caine held fast to his demands. Eventually a third voice spoke up – Anthony Kvist, the son of Otto Kvist who informed the Arch-Militant of the worst possible news – that the Arbites Senioris had been killed in the Riot.
Visiting the planet, he learned from the three spokesmen that the Arbites Senioris had refused to back down or surrender, and opened fire on the prisoners forcing them to kill him in self-defense. The other Arbites and Enforcers had been successfully subdued and imprisoned, and their only request was to be allowed to return to Svard as if the Arbites abandoned them, they should not be judged by their laws any further. The senior surviving Arbites member, Olympia Minucci saw things differently, and as this murder occurred in an Arbites precinct, all the rioters must be put to death.
Raoul continued to challenge the Arch-Militant’s authority, leading him to incapacitate the rowdy malcontent with plasma blasts to the legs, taking care to spare his life but severely injuring him. Astor did his best to calm the situation, and Kvist took Caine to speak with Veronous Erickson, the head of the Enforcers on Svard. She impressed on Caine the importance of resolving this issue to keep the Arbites and the nobility in line, even if the truth had to be obscured. Caine refused to allow a lie to vindicate anyone, and sought to inspect the body of the Arbites Senioris.
Anette Klabund, a Svardic Verispex was released to inspect the body of the Senioris. Identifying the wounds with the recovered weapons she determined that six people could have ended his life: Caliban Jabbie, Lenna Maskaly, Kaylene Filkey, Kreff Civatte, Raoul Anwell and Vartan Andreev. Refusing to believe that Andreev had acted willingly in this, Caine interrogated the rioters until learning that Andreev had been hiding and only fired blindly in fear. Although Raoul Anwell was definitely acting in anger, the guilt of the other four could not be firmly established. Ultimately he made the decision for the greater good to turn in the five he knew shot them, but left Andreev off of his report – an action backed up by Klabund’s report. With that, Arbites Minucci executed the five prisoners, but ultimately bowed to Astor’s charm and Caine’s logic to agree to let the rest go and honour her agreement with Svard to contain the situation.
On the way back, despite having accomplished a lot Caine was conflicted as to the correctness of his actions in daming some to save the lot. He consulted with Saira as to what the results of his actions on Svard would be, but partway through their discussion their Frigate came under attack by small Xenos vessels, similar to what Artifex Felicis recovered earlier. Though their weapons could not penetrate the thick armour of the Hull, their small weapons seemed adept at hitting in just the right areas, causing several fires and even knocking out the Auspex. With confusion reigning on the Frigate, Caine and Captain Garret were hardpressed to keep order, but ultimately managed to repel the Xenos vessels, destroying three. The damage to the ship was light, but many people died from the damage and morale was low.
Still, with Exclusion pledging itself to restore the situation and the children of the nobility safely returned, ultimately Caine had won a success against the strange Xenos creatures, which seemed more determined than ever to thwart the efforts of the Hos Dynasty…