(600 + GE)
(Brian, Jane, Peg, Randy, Sean)
To: Hans Steendahl, Inquisitor
From: Marigold, Interrogator, Temple Vanus
Thought for the Day: “Beware the Poison of Honeyed Words”
Events proceed almost faster than the probability-trance can calculate. First, you should know that Lord-Captain Finn was, so far as the station is concerned, assassinated and his Mistress of Commerce grievously wounded. Matters between Finn’s subjects here on the station, Reynard’s xenos-allied faction of Dynasty Aguirre, and the ever-looming presence of Naval Task Force Litany, as well as the countless personal agendas of the various Rogue Traders and mercantile consortiums, have become complicated.
In an effort to learn more about probable movers and shakers in the cold trade, Epsilon Cell arranged, under their noble-hedonist cover, to send invitations to a list of suspects garnered through their own investigation as well as through the use of an information broker known as Gant who operated out of a shrine to St. Vidicus the Forlorn. Gant also offered valuable information on a proscribed xenos artifact, but the asking price was rather steep. While I worked on undermining Gant into a better bargaining position, Epsilon Cell prepared for a party in true decadent noble style. The attention to detail demonstrated by Acolyte Hiberna was impressive in this regard.
Before the party, however, Lord-Captain Finn made his move. As you’re aware, Lord-Captain Roland Carvajal y Corazon Aguirre recently departed for the Licenian Subsector. He made it clear to Finn that he considered Reynard and his faction of House Aguirre to be outcastes, to be dealt with however Finn desired. Finn re-opened his old feud with Reynard and orchestrated hostilities against his foe. This feud apparently resulted in Finn’s assassination via xenos weaponry akin to the devices Epsilon cell recovered earlier. Between this and Surma’s wounds, the assault force fell back to regroup. Sporadic violence broke out over the station, but had died down by the time of the party. I opted to place Sigma Cell under Epsilon Cell’s authority for enforcement for the party in the troubled political climate.
As expected, the various invitees made a point of attending House Rees’ party, mostly to demonstrate their unflappability. Even Surma arrived, outfitted with her new cybernetic arm and eye. I append here the list of notable invitees in general descending order by title and personal authority:
- Lord-Captain Finn (Did not attend on account of assassination)
- Mistress of Commerce Surma (Present, albeit recovering from recent wounds)
- Master of Administration Angelo (Did not attend on account of over-work, promised to send representation, who did not arrive)
- Lady-Captain Antigone (Present, representing Commodore Tyrian of Task Force Litany, with four junior officers)
- Lord-Captain Lazar Starling (Present, Bearer of the Starling Warrant of Trade, with one attendant)
- Demetrious Starbourne (Present, representing Rogue Trader Dynasty Starbourne, with twelve guards)
- Tanya Vir (Present, representing Rogue Trader Dynasty Flamel, with three guards)
- Kalyani Jax (Present, representing Rogue Trader Dynasty Lin, with one unsanctioned psyker bodyguard)
- Ferro (Present, representing Rogue Trader Dynasty Haram)
- Mr. Li (Present, representing Reynard’s Faction of House Aguirre, with two psychically invisible Children of Thorns)
- Mother Katalina of the Abbey of St. Elena the Unshaken (Present with three acolytes)
- Jeremiah White (Present, representing the Lys Consortium)
- Hiram Vain (Present, representing his own mercantile organization, with four attendants)
- Gant (Present, in guise of “Mr. Roan”, his price for certain information, with one attendant)
Mr. Li arrived fashionably late. Prior to his arrival and the subsequent aftermath, Epsilon Cell made inroads with a number of factions and made particular note of the arrival of Lady-Captain Antigone of the Heavy Cruiser Starburst who was present as Commodore Tyrian’s representative. She and Surma had business together along unsurprising lines. Antigone was there to ascertain Surma’s capability and to provide Commodore Tyrian’s official recognition of authority should Surma prove capable and worthy. Acolyte Rees was able to capitalize on the pressure I had been covertly placing on Gant to get him to sell his information at a significant discount. I will append that report at the end.
Mr. Li arrived, however, and the party became tense. Acolytes Promethea and Attilan once more confirmed the presence of concealed xenos bodyguards. He faced off with the wounded Surma and declared before all that he had documents proving Reynard’s legitimacy, and that the late Lord-Captain Finn had overstepped his authority in attacking legitimate agents of Dynasty Aguirre. He presented his documents and proposed an end to hostilities. Surma called on Lady-Captain Antigone to formally declare her elevation to Lady-Captain of Port Echo, whereupon on behalf of the station she accepted Mr. Li’s proposal… on one condition. She demanded that Li’s bodyguards become visible, whereupon she further stated that Li was to leave the party while the attendees and their amassed firepower destroyed the alien in their midst. Li’s response was to hurriedly accept and flee whereupon the party erupted into violence. The two Children of Thorns were incapable of mounting much of a defense against the amassed attendees and their guards, let alone Epsilon and Sigma cells. There was some indication that Surma had provoked this confrontation primarily to gauge how rapidly the various other attendees would leap to her defense or seek to act against the Children of Thorns. Whatever the case, her ploy was a success. The station is buzzing with rumours about her ascendancy to Lady-Captain and the unusual circumstances of it. Not all the rumours are positive, and she will need to engage in significant damage-control to consolidate her power and authority.
The party continued with various developments I won’t tire you with. Of significant importance, however, is the discounted information Epsilon Cell gathered from Gant. First, they learned Mr. Li’s secret bolt-hole location for future use should he need to be apprehended. Second, they learned of a potent xenos artifact uncovered on the Wraith worlds by Callista Flamel. The effect the artifact has on psykers is identical to that of a Halo Device. Flamel brought it to Port Echo and sold it to Lord-Captain Finn for enough money to buy a heavy cruiser. As we both know, Halo Devices are threat-level extremis, and grant the person to whom they are bonded effective immortality, albeit in a monstrous form.
I calculate, based on the timing of these events and the specific data garnered by Epsilon Cell that there is a 79.65% chance that Finn bonded with this device shortly before initiating hostilities with Reynard’s faction of House Aguirre, knowing full well the effect of the Children’s assassination devices, and knowing that the artifact would revive him. If this has, indeed, occurred, Finn is alive, unrecognizable as himself, and may still be in control of the Council of Nine and his extensive Cold Trade network. Epsilon Cell intends to focus on Lady-Captain Surma to ascertain her degree of complicity in this scheme.
Cipher Lock Disengaged