(700 + GE)
(+1 Permanent Fate Point)
(Brian, Jane, Peg, Randy, Sean)
To: Hans Steendahl, Inquisitor
From: Marigold, Interrogator, Temple Vanus
Thought for the Day: “The Emperor’s Work is Never Done”
Epsilon Cell went to their meeting with the Council of Nine. They were met in a darkened room by 9 individuals shrouded in dark gray robes with black porcelain masks denoting numbers between one and nine. Number 2 was the spokesman. Initial questioning appeared to be to discover how invested “House Rees” was in involving itself in the Cold Trade, perhaps to gauge the repercussions of merely killing Epsilon Cell to rid themselves of new rivals. After being assured that House Rees was committed, the Nine debated amongst themselves whether or not to supplant Number 6 with Callidon Rees.
It appears that the Nine are rather fractured. There were 8 humans and 1 Stryxis in the room, but it was clear that a number of the humans were non-voting stand-ins for other interests. Number 6 appeared to represent Hiram Vain, and when the Stryxis member (Number 8) brought up Vain’s new aggression against its species, some dirty laundry was aired. The Nine voted, and ousted Vain from their number, inducting Callidon Rees as the new Number 6. Number 2, acting as spokesman, offered to brief Callidon on his new responsibilities. The others departed with their half-hidden entourages.
Once Epsilon Cell was alone with Councilor Number 2, he removed his mask, negated the Biomantic power that Acolyte Promethea had detected, and transformed into Lady Captain Surma.
Surma then, quite frankly, revealed pretty much all the information on the Council we could require, clearly angling to create a new faction within the Council that could transform it under her control, or destroy it entirely so she could pursue a career as a legitimate naval station Captain. Acolyte Rees assured her that either way he would be her ally in this matter, and she spilled the proverbial beans.
The Council of Nine is less a single organization as a confederation of individual organizations who collude to minimize conflict, minimize competition, and maximize profit.
Number 1 on the Council is a non-voting stand-in for Lord-Captain Finn, who while assumed dead, still has a significant Cold Trade network of more than a half-dozen raider-class warp-capable vessels, a private Navigator House, and other resources that Lady-Captain Surma has yet to control. She expressed some concern that the ship captains have not reported to her, and the Navigator House Virth has been stalling her. Her theory is that Finn had a second lieutenant in charge of his Cold Trade network of pirates and smugglers, and when she inherited the station, this other lieutenant inherited the network. She doesn’t know why this other lieutenant has not yet contacted her, and she is considering drawing a hard line on letting Finn’s ships continue to use Port Echo’s facilities. Acolyte Rees did not see fit to yet inform her of our suspicions that Finn himself may still be alive and controlling these resources.
Number 3 has only been on the Council for a week or so. He holds a non-voting advisory position. He is the mysterious Vargas who has already reached out to Epsilon Cell. He apparently represents the Calixian Cold Guild, the Calixis Sector’s counterpart to the Council of Nine. He is here to discuss increasing the cooperation between Sectors, which is deeply disturbing.
Number 4 was quite a surprise, and I encourage you to take additional action on this. He is Mr. Jeremiah White of the Lys Syndicate, an organization that has long had a contract with you to provide cover registration for your ships, including the Void Star upon which I and the other Acolytes arrived here. While White may not have known we are Inquisition, exactly, he could very well have suspected it, and represented a powerful leak. You may note that I used the past tense. I’ll get to that momentarily. The fact that the Lys Syndicate could conceal their cold trade activities from us for this long is of great concern, however, and I encourage you to unearth the matter elsewhere in the sector.
Number 5 is Tanya Vir of Rogue Trader Dynasty Flamel.
Number 6 was Hiram Vain, a surprising revelation if he is truly allied with the Logicians. He has, however, effectively declared war against the rest of the Council and has been replaced by Acolyte Rees.
Number 7 is Lord-Captain Lazar Starling of Rogue Trader Dynasty Starling.
Number 8 is a Stryxis named Ty’Na, representing the Gentle Fleet
Number 9 is Livia, the representative of the Amaranthine Syndicate, and another relative newcomer, having joined just prior to Vargas.
In conversation with Lady-Captain Surma, a number of important details emerged:
The Amaranthine Syndicate is powerful within the Calixis sector, but relatively new to the Ixaniad sector. It seems clear that Vargas arrived in the Sector at about the same time the Syndicate made a strong push to move some operations here, as well as their recruitment of Lord-Captain Starling. If the Amaranthine Syndicate is allied or a part of the Calixian Cold Guild, there is a voting block of 3 votes on the Council of Nine.
Each member of the Council has widely varying investment and contribution. Some, such as the two Rogue Trader houses, deal in small volume due to not having many ships, but can open up new sources of supply. The two mercantile syndicates have vast buyers’ markets and well as the ability to transport significant amounts of material. Surma provides the station, but appears to have no other actual hand in the trade. Acolyte Rees attained position 6 based on the presumption that House Rees represents a significant smuggling and criminal underworld element looking for suppliers.
Lady-Captain Surma suggested that Hiram Vain sought to overthrow the Council to take the profits for himself. I suspect he has other, more mysterious motives connected to his Logician connections. Whatever the case, conflict between him and the Council is inevitable, and I instructed Epsilon Cell to move to “phase 2”, namely the destabilization and eventual destruction of the Council of Nine. While individual components of the Council will doubtless escape to continue business, particularly the Rogue Trader houses, we can destroy this alliance, keeping the Cold Trade in the sector scattered and warring with one another. I also discussed with Epsilon cell taking care of the problem that was Mr. White.
Epsilon cell enacted a plan to execute White while making it look like Hiram Vain’s forces had attacked a business negotiation. They “leased” back the gun arm of Vain’s combat servitor they had sold to the Stryxis and called White to a business meeting at Epsilon Cell’s half-constructed casino. White had access to a teleportarium and a handful of murder servitors, but Epsilon cell had brought Gamma cell to the ambush, and they were able to kill White and his servitors. They then used the borrowed gun arm to hose down the bodies with distinctive projectiles implicating Vain. They then stormed onto Lady-Captain Surma’s command center complaining loudly about having been attacked. They reported White’s death, and conveyed to Surma that this was part of their plan. She played along, conciliating Acolyte Rees’ wounded pride and promising to investigate thoroughly. Epsilon cell then confronted White’s lieutenant, Mr. Cyrus DeLeon, informing him that Mr. White had negotiated a favorable contract between the Lys Syndicate and Gallus Rees, Callidon’s uncle. When the surprised Mr. DeLeon looked in his records, he found just such a contract (which I took the liberty of planting, along with other incriminating evidence against White). DeLeon was shaken, but acknowledged that he and his organization would honor this contract with House Rees. This effectively places the local branch of the Lys Syndicate under our influence, and adds White’s replacement (probably Mr. DeLeon) on the Council of Nine to Surma’s faction.
In all, Epsilon cell performed most admirably, unmasking the Council, and taking the first steps toward destabilizing and destroying it. I have put into motion the deaths of those fifteen members of the Lys Syndicate throughout the Sector most likely to have information about your contracts with their organization. These deaths should effectively preserve Epsilon Cell’s gains thus far.