As soon as The Whisperer fell to the mighty lance of the In Purgatio Lumen, the change in the atmosphere of the Svard system was palpable. The Xenos influence on the system has been banished, though not without cost. Tens of thousands of Hos Dynasty crewmembers lay dead, and the Hand of Redemption was crippled and in far worse shape than the Light Cruiser. Fortunately, Antonio Cassis and his Svard Defense Force Frigate had not been damaged in the fight, and was on hand to aid in repairs, and assist the two vessels in their return to Svard Prime.
Long-range vox contact with the system indicated that there had been a massive and violent uprising on the capital, corresponding roughly with the appearance of The Whisperer in combat. Despite the ferocity showed by the civilians, the rebellion was over almost as soon as it began with the destruction of the Yu’Vath vessel. A united front by the Crystal Council, as well as the Enforcers and Arbites left behind contained the worst of the damage. A similar report from Cog indicated an uprising there, but the presence of Leopold Phipps and the Under Wry Beginnings assisted Magos Tevla in keeping the damage under control.
With a long journey ahead of them, the vessels set off for a return to Svard Prime and the repair facilities that awaited them. En route, Navigator Maturinus confronted Astropath Eckhart regarding his earlier mind-reading of Commander Daniel Keel. The Navigator’s intuitive knowledge of the warp had detected the intrusion, but unwilling to risk the immediate execution such a revelation would bring had kept silent. Nonetheless, he made it clear that future indiscretions would not be forgiven so lightly.
Halfway to Svard Prime, the Dynasty was hailed by Magos Commodore Gnothis Trannarch, who had arrived in system with a Mechanicus relief fleet following the distress message from Explorator Felicis had Astropathically transmitted. Arriving to secure Cog and Kybu, the Magos requested the presence of the Dynasty in orbit around Svard Prime. Though Felicis wanted a chance to meet Magos Isabella Stein of Kybu, he ultimately acceded to the Magos’ request to meet over the homeworld.
In orbit around Svard, the Dynasty met Magos Trannarch’s flagship – the Ascendence of the Omnissiah. An escort vessel approached the hanger bay, where it was welcomed by the entirety of the Inner Council. Instead of a representative, a lone servo skull flanked by Servitors approached the group, and passed a Mechanicus icon to the Explorator. Upon taking it, he was teleported to the Mechanicus vessel where he met once more with the Magos-Commodore. Upon reflecting on the glory of the Omnissiah, the Magos then solemnly proclaimed that he knew of the Explorator’s sins. Though initially fearful that he meant something else, the Magos went on to say that the looting of the Promise of Agony has left the vessel in a condition that was less then pleasant for the Mecahnicus, and they would like the looted components restored.
A meeting then ensued with the Inner Council, where what they were willing to give up was discussed. Though Astropath Eckhart was reluctant to give up anything, a compromise was eventually reached where the Dynasty would return the Recovery Chambers and a good-sized portion of their looted equipment as a sign of good faith. Unfortunately, when informing the Magos-Commodore of this plan he sent a shuttle full of teleportarium beacons to retrieve the goods – and inspect the vessel for anything hidden.
Attempts to control the situation by Arch-Militant Caine only convinced the Magos-Commodore that Felicis had lost control of his crew, and the Explorator was again beamed over. Fortunately this gave him a chance to convince the Commodore in person to halt his looting, and a respite was given to allow the Hos Dynasty to send the equipment over themselves. With a few days needed for equipment transfer, the Dynasty confronted the people of Svard about the rebellion. As it initially started with a legal protest by Lillia Kusinen about the encroachment of the Dynasty in Svard, they decided to issue amnesty to all involved, along with a warning that their initial complacency led to the Xenos raiders to encourage this rebellion.
When the transfer of equipment finished, the Mechanicus revealed their reward for the Hos Dynasty – the In Obscurum Veritas. A special Mechanicus exploration vessel suited for long-range combat and salvage, its highly servitor crew would obey Jequin Hos and his crew as long as they were properly identified. With a new vessel under his command, Captian Hos ordered Astropath Eckhart and the crew to lead a salvage operation for the Emperor’s Bounty still in the Magoros system. Phipps had managed to procure a working warp drive, and with the Veritas’ upgraded salvage systems it would be possible to install the warp drive remotely, and then bring the ship back to Svard for extensive retrofitting.
The salvage operation went incredibly smoothly. Maturinus’s keen senses at the helm piloted the vessel back to the system first visited so long ago. The expert oversight of Explorator Felicis replaced the warp drive in short order, and in less than a week the two cruisers departed back to the Svard system. Maturinus and Eckhart stayed on board the Bounty, while Felicis and Caine piloted the Veritas back to Svard. The difference of navigators was apparent, with the Bounty arriving back in system in only a few days.
With Captain Hos’s research still progressing, and the Veritas still awaiting its return to realspace, the Navigator and Astropath rejoined the crew of the Lumen to assess how they were adapting to the aftermath of the fearsome ordeal they’d been through. In general spirits were high, though upon return to his quarters Navigator Maturinus was annoyed to find that Benetek’s Device had reappeared, haunting his steps once more. Taking it upon himself, he approached it and opened his mind to the Warp, to scan the thing once more.
But unlike the past, the device reacted to his scans, but leaping at him, striking him directly in his warp eye…