Following the series of crises previously encountered by the Dynasty, Lord Captain Hos decided to take a break and deal with the attempted business proposal from Madam Armelan Charabelle. The female Rogue Trader’s plan was refreshingly straightforward: use the previously established grain route to control the market for food that was flowing into Footfall. She had hoped that the two of them combined could ensure that their grain sold for more. Despite considering the offer, Captain Hos did not want to break his new trade agreement already, and turned her down.
Dispatching orders to Leopold Phipps to replenish the crew of the In Purgatio Lumen that was lost in the battle with the Promise of Agony. As both the Rogue Trader and his Seneschal departing, Captain Hos was surprised to see that Zacharya Caine, his platoon leader and an unknown man were walking towards his quarters. Surprised to see the Arch-Militant in Footfall rather than Port Wander, and then shocked to learn that he had been running errands for the Inquisition of all people, both the Captain and Astropath Eckhart were suspicious of his new hanger on, but after verifying the young man’s identities with a gentle mind probing they allowed him to stay on the vessel as Caines personal adjutant.
With Navigator Maturinus and The Widening Gyre still en route, Captain Hos decided to take care of a few matters still pending before setting off to answer the distress message from Svard, with or without his skilled Navigator. The first mission was Astropath Eckhart finishing his purchase from Titus Eisen, acquiring a Void Rhino that would be suitably bonded to him for a psychic familiar. He was forced to require newborns along with this purchase, but he solved that by releasing them on board to deal with later.
Artifex Felicis and Arch-Militant Caine went to Grant’s Bounty Office to turn in the reward for the Promise of Agony and claim its bounty. Although the vessel was not destroyed and instead remanded into the custody of Magos-Commodore Trannarch, Felicis was able to use his skill in diplomacy and reason to claim the full bounty, greatly boosting the Dynasty’s Profit Factor with temporary liquid capital.
The final action on Footfall was to deliver the final shipment of goods from the Emperor’s Bounty to Sophie Albor and the Obsidian Emporium. Captain Hos was informed that the goods had been received and they anticipated no problems in drawing in a number of interested buyers. As Captain Hos was interested in further negotiations, she arranged a meeting on one of the Obsidian Emporium’s storage asteroids with Quaestor Hex and Captain Hos’ scribe Barnard Kroon who had been left to assist with the cataloguing of the Emperor’s Bounty’s manifest. With Barnard’s help, Captain Hos was able to successfully negotiate for the Book of Imperial Graces, a tome that was partially penned by Saint Drusus himself. To further cement things swinging the Captain’s way, he was informed that The Widening Gyre had arrived in system and Navigator Maturinus was on his way.
The Navigator was brought up to speed on the events that he had missed, and the distress call from the Svard system, and it was decided that he would transfer to the Lumen and Navigator Dionisio would return to Port Wander and negotiate for more Navigators to join their endeavours. Navigator Maturinus was able to acquire a map to Svard, as well as Foulstone, Melbethe and several other “decoy” planets to throw off anyone who was following them. Captain Hos also used the new book to impress Miss Albor, who was charmed enough to reveal that her dislike for Eckhart had nothing to do with him being an Astropath, but because his Xenos Power Armour identified him as a man who had sold human beings to the Stryxis for his own personal gain. With that revelation aside, a few more acquisitions were made in Footfall, the crew was brought up to full strength, and the Lumen set off for the Svard system.
With Maturinus back on board, what should have been a ten day journey was cut into three days, and the real-space time passed was less than a day. The Svard system was exactly where predicted, and the Lumen set course for the planet. Mistress Nichols detected no in-system communication, so Captain Hos broadcast his greetings to the planet and its people. After some tenuous back and forth, he was able to convince those on the planet of his identity, and was contacted by Speaker Hermiod Tal welcoming him and transmitting a series of landing coordinates for the Lumen to transport people to the surface.
While en route to the planet, Explorator Felicis realised that the Jokaero who was loose on board the vessel had stopped tampering with the engines, which disturbed him almost as much as the knowledge that the strange Xenos had been tampering with them in the first place. Using his logic and the Captain’s incredible luck and skill at searching, they were able to find the Jokaero “nest” in the vessel, to learn that he was somehow modifying the engine conduits, but appeared to have abandoned his project before it could be completed. Astropath Poe determined that the Xenos had left its nest voluntarily, and was now frantically working in another part of the ship, but it could not be pinned down further. In addition Explorator Felicis was proudly and unexpectedly presented with a Power Klaw by his Orkish protege, inspiring Astropath Eckhart to ask the young Ork for a suit of armour for his new familiar.
Troubling Xenos shenanigans aside, the Lumen arrived in orbit around the ice world of Svard. The void stations in orbit around the planet seemed suitable for maintaining and supporting a reasonable SDF, but the stations were dormant and inactive at the time. Slightly troubled, Captain Hos took his Inner Council and three ship platoons down to the surface to make an impression. He needn’t have bothered though, for hundreds of thousands of people lined the glittering crystal city of Svard to welcome him, and burst into applause and adulation when he identified himself. Met by Councillor Otto Kvist, he was transported in style to the central ruling body of Svard to meet with Speaker Tal and identified himself.
The elderly but charismatic leader met and swore fealty to the man identified as the hereditary ruler of Svard, and again the crowd burst into applause. Captain Hos modestly downplayed this adulation, while several of his crew noticed that there was a tinge of desperation in their cheers. An answer for this was somewhat forthcoming when the Speaker identified Captain Hos as arriving to deliver them from their plight. Led in to the beautiful crystal chamber, the Speaker elaborated that their world had first noticed a small uprising in its worker force a little over a month ago, and since that time it has rapidly spread through the system until even the outer planets have lost contact with each other. The people had refused to surrender control to Commander Daniel Keel of the Battlefleet, holding out belief that the Hos Dynasty would come to reclaim their colony.
Before further explanations could be held, Councillor Kusinen of the Council burst in and demanded that Captain Hos leave these clandestine meetings and deal with the council as a whole and him in particular. Arch-Militant Caine broke up the argument with his usual grace, and Captain Hos instructed everyone to get something to drink to calm their nerves. Local refreshments were brought in, but in a flash of betrayal the man bringing drinks to the Rogue Trader attempted to assassinate him, but was thwarted by the quick reflexes of the Rogue Trader and his first officer. When captured the man’s eyes were black, apart from some odd discolouration, yet when he woke up they were normal and probing his mind revealed no trace of his actions or reasons behind them.
Summoning the head of the PDF into the room, Speaker Tal ordered her to liaise with Arch-Militant Caine for security. Astropath Eckhart and Navigator Maturinus reasoned that the lack of memories had to be due to Psyker manipulation, but a thorough search of the complex revealed no traces that would point to where this source came from. Shaken to his core that the rebellion had reached the hive cities, Speaker Tal turned to the Rogue Trader Jequin Hos, hereditary ruler of Svard and begged him to save his world…