The mood around Svard, and throughout the Hos Dynasty territories in general, was one of jubilation. With the forces of the Blood God fought off, the general consensus was that the looming war with Calligos Winterscale could pose no greater threat, and their territories would surely be secure. Though the mood of the Inner Council was less than thankful, they all recognised the potential that a good victory celebration could have, and encouraged this belief at all costs. Of course the true purpose of this celebratino was a cover for what they all immediately zeroed in on – the possibility of salvaging the remnants of the Chaos Fleet.
Most of the invading Khornish vessels had fought to the last, detonating their own warp cores in a last attempt to damage as much of the defenders as possible. Those vessels that survived were either hulked or non-space worthy, but three were identified as possible for salvage, among them the flagship that the Dynasty had fought so hard to maintain. Unfortunately even these three were heavily battle-scarred, and there was little chance that they would be in full fighting shape prior to the arrival of Winterscale’s forces. Astropath Eckhart encouraged the conversion of the three vessels into fire ships as a suicidal option, but Captain Hos instead remembered that there may be another race interested in acquiring ships only suitable for carrying large populations – the Stryxis.
Utilizing the bizarre communication device last given to him by the Stryxis a call was put out for these bizarre Xenos to show up for wares peddling, but the next to arrive in system was in fact a battleship of the Navis Nobilite, that was answering charges of the kidnapping of Navigators by the Hos Dynasty. It didn’t take long to realise that they were referring to the four Navigators taken from Maleziel, but the Nobilite denied receiving the Astropathic messages informing them of this capture, and wished to be taken at once to Damaris in order to verify their life signs. The ambassador of the Nobilite that spoke to them was a woman bearing the marking of House Pazzanno, one of Maturinus’s senior kinsmen, and she assured the Captain that she had every confidence in his innocence, and this could be wrapped up in no time at all.
Taking the Nobilite vessel to Damaris as they were assured of its speed, Navigator Maturinus was secreted to another part of the vessel reserved for true Navigators, while Hos, Eckhart and Sarvus went to luxury quarters that were elaborate, but clearly marked as for dignitaries. Arch-Militant Caine remained behind to perform security sweeps at Svard, and to promote his debut as a pulp novelist. The trip was uneventful, though the Dynasty was bothered by how Maturinus had been kept from them.
Arriving at Damaris, the Dynasty went to the surface along with Navigatrix Pazzanno to interview the rescued Navigators and return them formally to the Imperial fold. The planet well received him, though celebrations were to be deferred until the mission was complete. Maturinus was to meet them on the planet, but appeared delayed and did not join them immediately. As the Dynasty strode out to the starport to meet their Navigator, he descended from the shuttle and jerked backwards in a spray of blood. Rushing forward, Captain Hos attempted to perform medical aid to find that the wound was too precise – the Navigator was dead.
A second shot rang out and Eckhart sprinted to use his psychic powers to defend the Captain, while Sarvus’s enhanced sight picked out the sniper and began sprinting towards him, keeping him fixed in his vision. The sniper, realising his cover was blown, made to escape but once freed of covering fire, Eckhart and Hos both took private vehicles in pursuit of the killer. The assassin was picked up by contemporaries, but Eckhart’s training with the Death Bastards had left him a superior pilot, and coupled with the heavy fire provided by their own personal arms, and the coordination of a Damaris response, the group were brought down.
A coordinated response to hunt down the assassin cell was conducted with ruthless efficiency, and Eckhart was forefront at the violence capturing and mentally tearing at the minds of the rogue cell, but they seemed to have no greater tie to Winterscale. They were just a random group of angry citizens who conspired to embarass and attempt to free Damaris from Hos control. During the purge, the four rescued Navigators did indeed have their story confirmed, and though the Pazzano family was horrified by the death of one of their own, absolved the Hos Dynasty of responsibility.
The Navigators made to leave for proper Imperial space, ignoring the Captain’s request for them to remain while this was investigated. Desperate for more time, he begged of them transport back to Svard, which was reluctantly granted. The brief journey aboard the Battleship saw petitions, diplomatic harranging and formal requests from the Rogue Trader, all of which were shut down by the Navis Nobilite. Though suspicious, there was truly nothing he could do and with a heavy heart, they were returned to Svard and the Navigators left to bear Maturinus’s body back to his family. The celebratory mood was greatly diminished in Svard, and thoughts turned towards defense with a more somber air.
The intervening time did allow the Stryxis to make it to Svard, though the negotiations went much less smoothly this time. Whether they were less interested in the Chaos vessels or simply had no desire for them, trading proved much more difficult. The enigmatic Xenos of course refused to explain themselves without an exchange of information, and they finally accepted one of the smaller Chaos vessels in order to expound on how they had achieved “all they were after” for awhile, and had no desire for exchange of that nature. However, if the Dynasty was willing to help them track down a component long ago traded – to a man named Erasmus Haarlock – they would be welcome to salvage the vessel that still integrated their engine.
Accepting the bargain with the Stryxis, a strange cogitator that could be used to both signal the Stryxis and to track down the vessel of Haarlock – The Spear of Destiny – was given. Despite the potential of tracking down the legendary lost vessel of the Haarlock line, the loss of their companion and the looming war dampened the spirits of all involved, and the Dynasty wished for Winterscale to make his appearance so that they could properly vent their feelings.
And a galaxy away, having successfully faked his death, Navigator Maturinus was debriefed by Lady Sun Lee for another mission that could have dire implications for the entire Koronus Expanse…