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From the Archives of Archibald Fanning, Vanem Umbrae
Inquisitor Promethea and her throne agents departed Port Echo. They brought with them the cell of acolytes who had done such excellent work in defeating the Pale Throng, as well as the former leader of that organization, the rogue psyker Annabelle.
They put their new crew through their paces, led in the pious exhortations, and entered the warp for the lengthy journey to the other side of the sector. They learned more about their ship and its strange, Logician technology. They discovered that Hiram Vain’s people had installed a very advanced form of teleportarium. Unlike the the finicky ancient devices occasionally recovered from antiquity, this one appeared to be newly constructed from first principles, smooth and quick to recharge… an enormous advantage in any ship-to-ship engagement.
The majority of the new crew of the Azure Rose had never been in the warp before, and so keeping morale in check for the months-long translation was a challenge, but Davos took charge of the training and physical conditioning regimine and Sister Castita held services in a newly created temple-shrine and the crew held to their sanity for the duration.
They arrived in the vicinity of Rubrica, the homeworld of Inquisitor Promethea, as well as the primary holding of the Rogue Trader Dynasty Vallenti. Their aim was the return of the body of Inquisitor Gaius Vallenti to his family.
They were welcomed by the Principate Gaius Ichabarrius Valentius, the current planetary governor on behalf of the Dynasty, who accorded the Inquisitor and her entourage all due honor. The funeral procession and rites for the fallen Inquisitor were, perhaps, a shock to many in Promethea’s entourage, as the people of Mortalis, the capitol, were still quite primitive in their technological base and their beliefs. The temple of the Great Sky Emperor held to blood rites and rituals of divination that some among the formal Imperial Creed would find offensive. Nevertheless, their rites honored the Emperor in their own way, and the Inquisitor’s people respected the rituals of her homeworld.
The wake was held in the style of the wealthiest families on Rubrica, with a feast and an orgy, which some among the Inquisitor’s entourage participated to greater or lesser degrees.
Finally, the Inquisitor spent some days with her own family, who held her up as a shining example of what those of her lineage could achieve, doubtless inspiring the next generation.
Inquisitor Promethea then embarked upon her second task. She formally declared herself a member of the Polypsykana faction of the Inquisition, and she and her agents called upon all their resources and connections to divert significant funds and faculty to swell the Scholastia Psykana school on Rubrica. Previously, it existed mostly to supervise the planet’s tithe in psykers, but Promethea had a vision to transform it into a premiere school for the training of the gifted to serve the imperium, rightly presuming that Rubrica’s local customs of training are sufficiently rigorous as to satisfy normal entrance requirements. Once she had set in motion a significant increase in funds and resources, she prevailed upon the Choirmaster to accept as a student the rogue psyker Annabelle. While he was horrified at her power, in light of her lack of training, he accepted the risk to himself and his school in the hopes that she could be taught greater control, and become a great boon for the Imperium.
Having accomplished these goals, Promethea and her agents set about the task of playing the part of a pirate ship in the hopes of ingratiating themselves into the faction of the Amaranthine Syndicate led by Garvus Slynt.
They found a fat merchant vessel and attacked it, knowing that these actions were for the greater good of the Imperium. They took great pains to minimize loss of life, however, utilizing their superior teleportarium to seize rapid control of the vessel with minimal harm or loss of life. They took the cargo, consisting of supplies for the VIII Ixaniad Guard Battalion stationed on Karysmos. They then sought a pirate haven to sell their gains, and cement their cover.
They discovered a planetoid known to the locals as “The Roc’s Roost” and docked. They sold their cargo, and caroused in the local establishments, cementing their cover as a new pirate crew with significant wealth, perhaps the indolent scion of a Rogue Trader house, or a noble “slumming it.” They set up their Acolyte, Cormorant Tybaltus, as their “pirate captain” and he took to the role with gusto.
They learned rapidly that all pirates operating in the spinward quadrant of the sector owed twenty percent of their take to “The Boss” in exchange for information on which systems had been picked over, which were rich pickings, and where the Imperial Fleet was at any given time. It would appear that, as anticipated, the pirates of this part of the sector were organized. They quickly got a meeting with “The Boss’s” lieutenant on the pirate port, Captain Lazuli, a retired pirate captain who now oversaw both the tithe, and all trade on the planetoid. They paid their tithe, as required.
Some of them noticed, however, that they had been spotted. Orion, the seneschal to Elizabeth Starling, was present, and they soon discovered that Starling herself was newly operating out of this station. This seemed like an unusual coincidence until they got her aboard their ship and spoke to her.
It would appear that matters back in the Licenian subsector had changed dramatically, and that Imperial control was assured. Furthermore, the Rogue Trader House Aguirre had become aware of House Starling’s secret connection, much to Elizabeth Starling’s annoyance, and so they were backing away from that quadrant of space. Since the Amaranthine Syndicate were her primary backers, she and her ship moved spinward to help Garvus Slynt acquire new technologies, mostly by using her Warrant of Trade to salvage the Merides cluster for abandoned or damaged Logician technology. It would appear that Slynt, and the Syndicate, were seeking technological advantage in their dealings.
It occurred to the Inquisitor and her agents that they were flying around in a Meritech-Shrike class ship filled with advanced Logician technology. After some negotiations, they convinced Elizabeth Starling to set up a direct meeting with Garvus Slynt with the aim of selling the Azure Rose to him. Their real plan was, of course, to attempt his capture. To that end, they further arranged that Starling herself would, should violence break out, come down on their side, effectively betraying the Amaranthine Syndicate. She rightly pointed out that should the Inquisitor fail in her goals, this would effectively destroy the Starling Dynasty, and so in exchange she asked that should the Inquisitor succeed, that she be permitted to take over the Syndicate’s organized pirate operations, and that her “brother” Lazar be granted formal title over the Syndicate’s legitimate holdings on Ichabarr, currently run by Lyza Blue.
The Inquisitor agreed, even knowing that such a thing would suddenly catapult House Starling into significance, under the theory that having the pirates organized under a catspaw to the inquisition would be an excellent source of information on any aliens, daemons, or heretics that flourish at the edges of Imperial law.
Promethea and her agents put a number of other things in place, preparing Callidon Rees on distant Rashan to ready his cell to move against the Amaranthine Syndicate’s cold trade emporium, and preparing to have Imperial authorities seize the assets of “Vain Mercantile Consortium” from under Lyza Blue.
They then trained their crew as best they could in counter-boarding actions while Magos Attilan sought to fabricate a defense against the possibility that Slynt might have a teleportarium of his own, and may seek to take their ship by force.
With all these plans in motion, they awaited Elizabeth Starling’s word that the meet had been arranged.