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Ultima Segmentum, the galactic east of the Imperium; home to the realms of Baal, Ultramar, Iyandan and Alaitoc craftworlds, the fledgling Tau Empire, sites of the Badab War, and sacking of Prospero, and the coming of the Tyranid hive fleets. It is the year 742 of the 41st millennium, and some of these things have already come to pass while others have yet to do so. For the last eighteen months there has been an influx of xenos based technology making its way along systems of the eastern fringe. These items can be traced to the newly discovered Tau Empire, and have been spread in part by the ships of clan Hirvat. For the last seven of these months, the lord of clan Hirvat, the rogue trader Nathaniel Leeds, has borne witness to the systematic destruction of his empire by an unknown enemy. The trader has been pushed into a corner, with allies and finances waning he has become desperate for some way to reverse his fortunes.

Three weeks ago, Leeds received a message which was to be the answer the trader most needed. A deal would be brokered with one of Leeds lesser associates used as the intermediary, but only if such a thing could be done face to face. Needing the capitol and new allies, Leeds designated the location of the meeting, the station of Last Chance. Likely as good a name if there ever was one for such a place; for a way-station located near the eastern fringes of Imperial space. The reach of humanity’s laws was more distant out here, making it an ideal meeting point for those who would rather keep away from prying eyes in order to do business. The station was little more than nothing, a kilometer long sliver of stone and metal orbiting a red star; but it was to be here where things would finally come to an end. Or so, that is what some involved believed.


Methanor and Demetrius; You are in the cockpit of the transport shuttle, currently making final approach to the Last Chance station. For the fifth time in the last hour you have been forced to submit verification of identity to the servitor controlled systems aboard the station. It is a tedious task, but better to comply than obliterated by station defense guns; this isn’t the usual cutter after all.

After what feels like ages, there is a return accepting the given identity and the hangar portal slides open. With a scarping of metal on stone, Methanor sets the transport down while Demetrius begins to power down the systems. Checking the external sensors, the pair make it known that the atmosphere is good to proceed, before leaving the cockpit itself to join the others.

[It’s a tad lonely up in the cockpit, something you both might actually find comforting to a certain degree. At least your free from the taunting of Kreshk, the attitude of Amber, or the disapproval of Sara.]


Amber, Everett, Sara, Selnak, and Kreshk; You are arranged about the main cabin of the transport shuttle so ‘graciously’ provided by the sprint trader Slavek Reoul. Sitting along the left side of the cabin, and continuously wringing his pale hands, is Reoul himself; guarded by two silent figures clad in dark military fatigues and bearing the insignia of the traders ship. He has been staring out of a porthole for the last forty minutes, becoming paler with the passing minutes.

“Calm yourself shipmaster, one would think you were flying to your doom.” Inquisitor Gabrien said from across the cabin, jade green eyes seeming to look upon the man’s soul, before the inquisitors aged face contorts into something between annoyance and pain. Before that last comment, you wouldn’t have thought the traders face could get any paler. “My dear, must we be so indelicate in such matters?” He asks Sara, who was conducting a test on the inquisitors blood to check toxicity level.

Meister Evangaluff, is there anything you can tell us about this station before we touch down?” The old inquisitor asks, before looking at the mercenaries of Kreshk and Grex; both were well traveled and may have come to this place in the past, the look in his eyes all but asking the unspoken question.

[Sara, as you go through checking Gabrien’s blood, your scan comes back to reveal a build-up of twenty eight percent since the last time his blood had been purged. He will need another transfusion and cleansing in the next few days, or you could get him to have it done as soon as things were wrapped up here if you lied to him about it. There is also Slavek, who looks like he could do with something to calm his nerves. Though do you bother with the man, knowing he has some connection in the trading of xenos technology to human worlds?]


[Kreshk and
Amber, you both watch from portholes as the station grows in size; the kroot pointing out hidden point defense turrets used to stop ordinance or small craft from getting to close. It is a trying time for the kroot, to be confined in here with little to do, but there is not much that can be done of that so instead Kreshk has chosen to amuse himself by making the much younger Amber as uncomfortable as possible, at least until someone else steps in.

And uncomfortable the creature is making her, though she cannot help but show some marvel at the closing station and the alien’s keen eyes. Even had she known this place had defense turrets, Amber doubted she could have found them on her own. To try and settle her own nerves, Amber turns her attention away from space, and towards one of the two figures beside Reoul. Both had the look of fighters about them, the one on the left having a handsome face with small scarring from firefights, but when he caught her eye the look on his face was nothing short of contempt. The one on the right is an ugly mess, but when he catches Ambers eyes looking him over, he simply stares her down.

So, the question becomes do you attempt to engage either of these two, or perhaps the kroot or one of the others present beside the shipmaster?]


[Grex, you have been listening to the kroot trying to push Ambers buttons while also checking your gear. You remember this place well, having been here twice before. Its nothing special, just another back-water station in a back-water system; and that was the point of it. Out of the way, and a far cry from most help, you were on your own here. That might be why this Leeds chose it, the trader was likely more used to the place and knew a thing or two of it, might even be bribing the few human crew to look the other way at times.]



[Everett, like
Amber you have been watching the station and taking in what Kreshk has been saying with some amazement. He has been able to find things that were supposed to be well concealed, just going to show a difference in evolution between the kroot and mankind. You also keep an eye on what Sara is doing, making note of the results displayed along the screen of her narthecanium. Much of the data is beyond you, though the distinct form of a twenty eight percent is clearly visible. Unlike Grex, you know nothing of this particular area, having never traveled here before.]


[For this coming meeting, you are not the team of inquisitor Gabrien but instead members of the inner circle and entourage of Goliath Barnabass; Trader-baron and current owner of the Ytrum Foundation based near the western end of the segmentum.
Everett, Kreshk, and Grex are from this area of space, the historian acting as an adviser and the mercenaries are ‘bodyguards’ for Amber and Sara respectively (the former being more exotic after all.) Methanor and Demetrius are ‘indentured’ workers under the employ of Barnabass. Sara and Amber themselves are the daughters of the baron, both potential candidates to take over in the wake of their ‘father’. Your appearances reflect the roles you are playing: Grex and Kreshk as normal, Everett in robes like that of the administratum, Methanor and Demetrius in flight suits, and Sara and Amber in some of the finest silken robes of outlandish designs.]
 

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Kreshk stared at the station approaching through the porthole. The humans called it Last Chance, which was actually appropriate. The xenos mercenary had been there once fifteen years ago and had gotten into a fight with a group of human slavers who had tried to take him for cargo, and had been propositioned by some human females who had offered to mate with him for money, which was not only riotously funny to think that a Kroot could be attracted to the soft pink and weak flesh of a human, but that he would pay for it?! His laughter had scared them away before he could say as much, though it had only brought another group of humans who tried to kill him for being a "Xenos" and ended up dead with their heads smashed open. He had not eaten their flesh, they had not been worthy opponents and did not deserve such an honour, that and he was certain some of them had features that humans did not normally have and might be tainted meat. shaking off his reverie the Kroot brought himself back to the present, into the cramped shuttle whose engines were loud and where the prisoner shuddered and was very close to relieving himself from fear.

Kreshk forcefully exhaled the breath he had been holding, the contours of his beak turning it into a slight whistle. A series of clicks escaped his throat as he inhaled again, trying to control the pent-up energy. It had been several days since he had last indulged in the galaxy's favourite past-time, meaningless violence, and he was starting to feel crowded.The overpowering scents of the humans did not help either, each one was different and yet equally awful. The Inquisitor reeked of sickness and the foul chemicals the human's ingested to keep themselves alive, which Kreshk felt was baffling. Better to die clean in combat than wither like the Inquisitor would one day. The female medic reeked of foul chemical cleaners and tears that she wasted on those who had fought their last battle. The ganger female that sat next to the Kroot was the worst, cheap stimulants, recreational toxins, skin ink and the scent of fear and sweat pervaded from her constantly, after twenty-five cycles of roaming amongst them Kreshk was never shocked at how low humans would sink for thrills or what they would drink, smoke or inject when they could simply fight and gain an even greater thrill. The pompous one that didn't look like he could fight at all smelt like parchment, ink and unresolved mating tension. The only one whose scent was pleasant, at least to Kreshk, was the human mercenary. His natural scent of rifle oil, scars and blood, all very very pleasing to a Kroot mercenary like Kreshk.

He had once considered which of the humans he would honour by devouring their flesh if they fell in battle, and had decided the only the ganger and the mercenary were worthy of such an honour. The Inquisitor would have been were he not dying of sickness, but the others were too weak. The medic was too soft and frail, and the historian had a fine brain but it was filled with worthless and boring histories and his actual flesh was even weaker than the medic's. The mercenary was a fine specimen, strong muscles, sharp eyes and fast reflexes. His flesh would strengthen Kreshk nicely, perhaps add some more muscle to his frame and grant him some of the human hardiness that their kind boasted. The ganger was short but her reflexes were impressive by human standards, but her senses were very good though inferior by Kroot standards. Both of them would bring Kreshk strength, he decided that at some point he should inform them that he planned to eat them when they died. Their reactions would likely be very amusing. Noticing that the Inquisitor was asking a question Kreshk turned to regard him, taking his eyes away from the approaching station and its arsenal which he had been vividly describing to the ganger a moment before. A small series of clicks emerged as he spoke,

"Been a while since I was last here Inquisitor, last time I only saw pirates who wanted to fight with me and females who offered to mate with me but others Kroot might still be there. Shouldn't trouble us unless we trouble them, hope we do."

A rapid clicking noise tore free of Kreshk as his beak clacked open and shut a few times. When he had first done that in front of the humans they had thought he was threatening them, which he had considered at the time but decided against it. Their faces had been rather amusing when he told them he had been laughing, whereas their laughter sounded more like Krootox roaring at each other and was deeply annoying. Turning his gaze back to the approaching station Kreshk was mildly impressed with the improvements they had made in the last fifteen cycles, more guns and armor was always a good improvement especially in a place like this. Before they had just had human lascannons and flak launchers, a poor armament that even a single Kroot War-Sphere could withstand without taking any damage, but now heavy cannons and hidden point defence batteries had been installed, turning the way-station from a hulk waiting to happen into a formidible defensive position. He decided to resume his conversation with the ganger, and by extension everyone else in the small area.

"So as I was saying, there are several guns hidden around the entrance to the docking bays, try to blast out and they get your engines. Try to force your way in they get your pilots. Either way, you become dead flesh. And those armor panels across the starboard side open up, shoot missiles that burrow into ships and blow up. Only take one to destroy this scrap."

He directed a hiss at the shivering trader at the final word, this was his ship and it was barely spaceworthy. Even fifteen years ago this once-puny station could have blown it away with its pathetic array of under-powered guns, now it wouldn't even have to fully power its weapons to do. His gaze flicked back to the ganger, her petite frame was well-muscled but any good Kroot warrior could overpower her easily and outpace her without any effort at all. It was nice to be reminded of human deficiencies, they made Kreshk feel so much better about his own race and their superior forms. He allowed his own eyes which were sharp and predatory, to meet her's which in contrast were wide and very easy to see through. All human eyes were like that, it reminded Kreshk so much of the slow-moving herd animals on Pech.

"Scared human?" he asked mockingly. The female ganger often scented of fear, though fear of what Kreshk had not been able to tell. It was not combat, but something much deeper. Normally the Kroot would not care, but it was something that he could use to unsettle the human and that was always a good distraction from the tedium of space-flight.
 

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Everette rustled his new clothes that replicated those of an administratum official, his hand splaying at the sides of the cloth about his midsection. He realized he was still in a small ship full of other people, and quickly moved his hand to make it appear as if he was simply brushing something off.

Regaining control of himself and his surroundings with clasped hands behind his back to keep them still, and and a slightly upturned chin.

His small, deep set eyes naturally moved quickest to the form of the Kroot, who never ceased to be frustrating in some way or another.

His eyes then wandered to the second most natural thing for his mind to be drawn to. He chuckled silently to himself as he stared at sara's breasts, then amber's; both sets looking absolutely exquisite in their silken robes compared to their usual wear. He chucked because it never ceased to amuse him that despite the vast amount of space travel and other technologies mankind had accomplished his brain still reacted the same way as that of his millenia old ancestors did upon early Terra. First was fear, the threat of death, and if that wasn't an issue it was on to reproduction opportunities. So animalistic, still.

Unfortunately he soon found that the girls being there dressed up was only serving to make things even more uncomfortable. He wasn’t sure who seemed more out of place: them or himself. ‘What pointless inquisitorial mission were they on now? Oh yes, a pointless one,’ he thought.

Trader Reoul’s shivering nerves were almost as loud as the subtle blips coming from Sara’s device. He eyes glided toward the small screen in front of her, noticing the 28% reading. From his years and work he knew 28% was never a good number. It was never enough of something good, and too significant of a number when something was wrong.

““Meister Evangaluff, is there anything you can tell us about this station before we touch down?” asked Gabrien.

Everette wanted to say he knew of the station’s history, but something so small apparently had slipped past his learning. He took another look at it and was sure he could come up with something fairly accurate but all that came out of his mouth was a half-assed sigh.

Kreshk was quick to speak in any case. He had to admit the Kroot was definitely very interesting to him. He represented a whole new area of history and culture to learn that he knew so little about. He had learned and taught the Imperium’s history for most of his life. The idea of learning that of a xeno race piqued his interest. He only wished Kreshk had been an intelligent member of Kroot society, not some hormonally unbalanced fiend.

Kreshk finished his little history lesson and turned to amusing himself by bothering Amber.
When the chicken beast asked her if she was scared, everette mocked him in his mind with the voice of a child, not moving his lips even a twitch, “scared human” He almost rolled his eyes as he thought the words... almost.
 

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Typing slowly on the console in front of him, Demetrius sighed as he was forced to submit their verification again for what was either the fifth or sixth time in the last hour. "Stupid bastards..." he muttered under his breath. His job finished for now, he leaned back and ran his hand over the flight suit he was wearing, a frown creasing his brow. Of all the things he had to deal with the one comfort he was allowed was stripped from him for this mission. "Bastards" he muttered again, thinking about those he shared the ship with.

Sighing again he began to feel his mind wander, and he physically recoiled as it touched on the mind of the kroot. He hated that vile clicking monster that constantly mocked them. If it were up to Demetrius he would fry its mind and leave it a gibbering idiot. The thought brought a brief smile to his face, immediately replaced by a grimace as he touched on the ganger. Just being around her made him nervous, her twitchy nature stressing him out. The mercenary and historian barely registered to Demetrius, Grex having the disciplined mind of a warrior and Everett's mind so full of information it made Demetrius' head spin. The medic was the only one on their team that he felt at ease around, the compassion that radiated off her was like medicine to Demetrius and he inhaled it deeply. Leaning back in his chair, he stole a glance at Methanor. Cocky, arrogant, and just all around irritating. The whistling was the worst, and several times had Demetrius mentally going over the different ways to destroy his mind. At least he wasn't stuck in a room with that Emperor damned xeno though...

Watching the hanger doors open, Demetrius heard metal scrape as the ship set down. As he powered down the systems he began trying to control his breathing. Avoiding a panic attack before a mission was key, and he was having trouble doing it. Finishing his task, he sat back in his chair and closed his eyes, hearing Methanor leave the cockpit. As soon as the door closed, his eyes snapped open and he smiled. He was alone. These brief moments were what he lived for, and the joy of it allowed his guard to drop for just a second.

Pain is the gift of the fleesssssshhh- was the words that came hissing into his mind before he shut them out immediately. "shit shit shit" he muttered throwing his mind out to see if there were any other psykers that could of sensed his lapse in concentration nearby. Sighing in relief he saw that none had noticed, and shakily rose to his feet. Time to join the inquisitor...
 

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Wrinkling his nose at the plume of fragant cigar smoke that tickled the back of his throat, Selnak turned his attention away from the portal that showed their ships destination. This fucking backwater station.... One place that he had hoped never to have to return to. It was a good thing that he came under an alias and that it had been 10 years since he had been there last. It didn't hurt that he had convienently disposed of the troublesome party sometime ago as well, but computerated identifiers and station security personnel had long memories. Hopefully things wouldn't get sticky. If there was one thing he hated more than malfunctioning equipment, it trouble that couldn't be avoided. This was one of those situations. With a shrug he resolved to let whatever was going to happen happen.

As he took a long drag on the cigar clamped in his chapped lips, he sighed with contentment. The wrap was Terran, pricey, rare, but worth every penny. The aroma stimulating his senses. Nothing like a good cigar. Clamping his teeth down on the end of the flavorful specimen, he turned his attention back to his pistols, the mechanisms laid bare. Taking a small sonic cleaner from the utility pouch at the small of his back, he went back to the meticulous task of making sure his weapons were in perfect order. His hands worked on their own, this routine played out a thousand times, in the same manner over the years, as his turned his attention back to the rest of the passengers in this barely flight worthy skiff.

Selnak cared very little for the nature of the inquisitor's mission. He didn't really give two shits of some fucking merchants were trading in xeno tech. He wasn't paid to care, he was paid to protect Gabrien and to kill when the Inquisitor needed him to. He cast a contemptuous glance in the direction of their contact, some snivling rodent of a man named Reoul. It was pitiful how the yellow-bellied cur shook. His fear evident, his nervousness coloring his pits and dousing his forehead with pungent sweat.

His companions were less of an annoyance, they even had their uses save that arrogant historian. Each part of the efficient machine the Inquistor had built. His favorite of the group had to be the enigmatic Kroot warrior. The xeno was crafty, skilled, and one hell of a warrior. Grex couldn't help but chuckle inwardly as the bird-like alien taunted Amber, it was amusing to watch her wriggle uncomfortably under his alien stare.

Looking down, just as he put the last spring into place, and re-loaded his prized pistols, Gabrien began to speak, trying to calm Reoul, and inquiring of Evangaluff the history of this station. Grex almost laughed outloud as the historian faltered, his all to precious knowledge failing him for once. As if he knew what Evangaluff's answer would be, Gabrien quickly turned to Kreshk and Grex, an inquisitive eyebrow asking the question without words.

Kreshk answered first, his description accurate enough. "Pirates indeed," Grex snorted, "Murderous theives if you ask me. Just because we don't start trouble doesn't mean that others wont. I suggest you keep your weapons close at hand as a precaution." Stretching out, throwing his booted feet up on the table where his guns had been laid out moments before," It is another backwater station sir, a shelter for those who want to hide. We are on our own if shit hits the fan, but it is a perfect place to conduct business you want kept from prying eyes."

Gabrien seemed satified with the answer, but Grex couldn't help but wonder if his presence with the group would start things off poorly for them. Blowing a ring of smoke up towards the ceiling, he decided that he didn't really care one way or the other.
 

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"Scared human?"

Yes,a little, not that I'd admit it.

Amber was twitchy, she hadn't taken a hit in months now, managing to resist the temptation, but she still found it difficult to sit still. The elaborate silken robes were uncomfortable, the material was smooth and gentle, but she couldn't quite get used to it. Her's were a little more revealing than Sara's, taking advantage of the sweeping tattoos that covered her skin, but both were outlandish designs from the very edges of the Imperium.

The avian creature had pointed out near invisible marks on the surface of the station as she'd stared wide eyed, trying, and failing, to look unimpressed. Truth be told she'd never really got over the size of space, she'd grown up in an environment where the only sky was the dome roof a hundred metres above. The first time she'd left the hive with Gabrien she'd burst into tears at the terrifying size of the outside world and she was still uncomfortable in open spaces.

She carefully rehearsed the story in her head, as the daughter of Goliath Barnabass she would have to be elegant and graceful, a task she felt Sara would accomplish with a great deal more ease than she herself could. Simply wearing the dress made her feel clumsy and awkward, though when she'd admired herself in the mirror before they departed she'd had to admit she looked the part. She'd shifted a little uncomfortably under Everette's unashamed stare, but had enjoyed the admiration a little, and she would have to get used to it, certainly in these clothes. The part she was dreading the most was having Kreshk following her around acting as her bodyguard. She was uncomfortable with the cynical, cold Grex but at least he was human, and he had his moments, rare though they may be.

Kreshk however seemed to take delight in tormenting her, she was relieved that he wouldn't have the opportunity when they were 'in character'. She finally dragged her gaze away from the station, eyeing the Kroot warily, "scared? No. What is there to be scared of?"

But her voice betrayed the fact that the alien was getting to her, as much as she tried to block it out he was pushing at her buttons with some success. She looked over to Reoul, the sweating nervous trader was flanked by two large men, presumably bodyguards. The left was handsome enough, his face somewhat marred by what looked like a firefight wound. He glared at her with a look of such contempt she santched her own gaze away. The second was far more horrifically scarred, but simply stared back blankly, until eventually she looked away...
 

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Sara focused on her job tending to the Inquisitor as the battered craft rocked and seemingly forced its way through the dark cold void towards the space station. Sara did not like travel through space, the endless darkness stretching ever onwards. However the thing she was most uncomfortable about was the fact that a tiny space shuttle, carrying the small retinue towards the space station that was bristling with weapons that could bring them down.

One twitch, one mistake and they could all be lost to the void. Sara did not like that thought. She turned her mind back to the task at hand, focusing on the Inquisitor. Slowly using her narthecanium she inserted it into the Inquisitor's arm to check his blood toxin levels, causing the Inquisitor to grimace in pain. "My dear, must we be so indelicate in such matters?”

Sara looked up at the Inquisitor, speaking quietly, "Apologies Inquisitor, I shall be done in a moment." Quickly taking a sample she withdrew her Narthecanium, spraying the insertion point with anti septic. She quickly read the level readout her Narthecanium was pulsing at her. A blood toxin level build up of 28%. Twenty Eight percent since she had last purged his system of it, it wasn't great but he would be able to operate perfectly for a couple of days.

"Lord, blood toxin levels have built up by Twenty Eight percent since we last purged your system. You will be able to operate a few more days before you need to have the blood purged again, or I could do it once we have completed our objective on the Space Station, thus allowing us to continue with the mission without having to worry about your blood levels." She said quietly to the Inquisitor.

She sat back, keeping her posture. She hated the silken dress she had been given, it was completely out of character for her. She was used to her medicea robes or her light armour, not all this finery. Besides she hated the attention it got her. She looked over at the trader, a pitiful example of humanity. He was everything that was wrong with humanity, selling xeno weapons and putting others lives in peril.

He seemed like he would also put her squad's lives in peril, he was nervous, twitchy. She needed to give him something to calm him down, even if it went against everything she believed in. She couldn't allow him to be the one that screwed over the mission and get people killed, especially if she could have avoided it somehow. She moved over to him, ignoring the two bodyguards on either side of him, the dumwitted beasts. "Take this to calm yourself trader." She said simply to him, depositing a pill in his hand from her medical supplies before returning to her seat.
 

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“Remember Methanor, you’re playing an indentured worker,” Gabrien had said to me, a slight smile tugging at his lips. I had groaned. This was never fun. I wasn’t the kind of man to play dumb. Not at all. But Gabrien was going and I’d be damned if I’d let the man I’d served and been friends with for fifty years head into Last Chance without a good pilot to get him out of there.

That was why I was sitting in the cockpit of a pathetic little shuttle. I was wearing a thick flight suit that also covered my hands. I hated it. There were the controls of a ship in front of me and I couldn’t even use them properly. Admittedly the shuttle wasn’t even a patch on the cutter I normally piloted. Hell, it wasn’t even a patch on my old Glavian longprow. But I was stuck with it. And with Demetrius in the co-pilot’s chair. I had nothing against him personally but astropaths always creeped me out, and yet made me feel so depressed when I thought too deeply on the subject of their existence which I was beginning to.

I tore my attention away from the astropath and focussed on what I was doing. Which happened to be flying a pile of junk. Honestly it was a miracle I had managed to get us this far without it falling apart. Scanning the console I could see several symbols flashing, telling me of faults in the system.

I was glad to be almost alone in the cockpit, free from the stern disapproval of Sera, the mocking of Kreshk and the cold contempt of Grex. The one thing I missed was Gabrien’s calm confidence in my abilities. Oh, and Amber’s attitude. That was always fun to hear. I smiled slightly and then fixed my eyes on the station to make sure I did what I had to. Stop this pile of shit from crashing into the station and ending several lives dedicated to the protection of the Imperium of Man from the foulest of foes. The mutant, the alien and the heretic. All of these were the targets of what we served. The targets of the Inquisition...
 

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Methanor; After an age, the hangar doors slide open and allow you to land the shuttle with little effort. Despite the aging crafts less than steller maintenance, you put the craft down with expert precision, swinging its bulk around in a neat one hundred eighty degree arc and touching down. Powering down systems, you get up from the pilots chair and turn to leave the cockpit just behind Demetrius. The pair of you enter the main cabin, with the rest of the team, in addition to that sprint trader Slavek and a pair of guards.

Without needing to wait for any instruction, you continue past the main cabin to the entry ramp, followed by the bounty hunter Grex and the alien Kreshk. With a squeal of ill maintained hydraulics, the ramp shakily descends to the metal floor, partially obscured by venting gases. The hanger itself is fairly devoid of life, just a number of servitors coming towards the shuttle, attaching fuel couplings and marking down identification runes along the ship’s hull for records. A quick sweep of the surrounding area shows what you figured, no threats to be seen and little to be concerned about.

There are two other ships docked in this hanger, which by its appearance is both well maintained and fairly private. The space is enormous, easily capable of holding another dozen ships, and well lit from lighting that vanishes into the ceiling. The other ships are also well maintained, the smaller of the two nearly lavishly so and your mind wonders for a second about flying it before coming back to reality as you spy movement by the second of the shuttles. Three or four flight crew, smartly dressed and keeping to themselves, clearly ex-navy or something similar if you were to venture a guess.

As you yourself lean against one of the shuttle’s landing struts, indicating the other flight crew to Grex, you spy the approaching form of a man in bright green administrative robes walking towards you and the pair of mercenaries. However before you are forced to engage this man in any form of conversation, Everette and Demetrius descend the ramp and immediately make for the man.

[Both shuttles are fairly new models for their class, though the larger of the pair is an escort vessel what with a number of military grade weapons that you can make out. You can distinctly make out the same symbol proudly displayed on them, some sort of fiery bird of prey with a core of orange and wings of bright blue.]


Grex and Kreshk; With a lurch and a twist, you watch through side portholes as the shuttle enters the hanger and touches down with expert precision, despite its cruddy appearance. This is not doubt thanks more to those flying it, than any ability concealed by bad looks. And a minute later this is confirmed when both Demetrius and Methanor come from the cockpit; the former stone-faced and unreadable and the latter wearing a cocksure grin as he is oft to do. Methanor quickly makes his way through the cabin and towards the entry ramp to secure the landing area, an action that is also part of your responsibility.

Taking up your weapons, you follow the pilot out of the ship, noticing Gabrien holding Demetrius back from doing the same but paying the act no mind. Descending the ramp brings you out of a slightly cramped and dilapidated space and out into a luxurious and open hanger with only two other shuttles as company.

There is not much to say or see about this place; aside from some flight crew and servitors the hanger is fairly deserted. Methanor actually brings your attention to the flight crew, whose movements Grex confirms to be that of former Imperial Navy while Kreshk can all but taste a lingering sense of blood and death in the air coming from the larger of the two shuttles.

[Everette and Demetrius soon depart the shuttle as well, going to speak with an approaching man in green robes. Kreshk recognizes him from his previous time here, though it is clear he has advanced his position since before. Grex recognizes the markings on the other shuttles, a bird with a core of orange and wings of bright blue, as one he had done a few jobs for in the past. It’s the symbol of a noble guild based out of a system near Cytheria, which is to the north west of Calth in the Ultramar system.]


Demetrius; Upon touchdown you are rather quick to leave the cockpit, nearly forgetting to power down the systems you are in control of in the process; ultimately though, nearly is as far as that lapse goes. Exiting the cockpit, you walk into the main cabin and for the entry ramp to help Methanor, Grex, and Kreshk secure the pad outside for Barnabass and his daughters. Before you get more than half-way through the main cabin a strong but weathered hand locks onto your arm and time seemingly comes to a halt.

-There are those always watching, those strong enough to hide themselves even from you. Never again make the mistake of thinking you can hide a slip Demetrius, it only brings more attention to wandering minds. Your predecessor paid the price for that mistake; he served me for over twenty years before I was forced to put him down. I expect you to not fail in that regard and to be able to outlast him.- Gabriens soft voice cut into your mind with the grace of a scalpel, implanting the inquisitors own final look at his previous astropath Raegis.

The image left burned into your mind is nothing short of disturbing. A man, if he can be called that, writhing in agony as his limbs both contort and elongate to inhuman proportions; paper think skin cracking to let bulging black veins explode outward in a crisscross of patterns that hurt the eye. The eyes complete the memory; what should be empty sockets contain oily black orbs that appear to be pleading and laughing at the same time.

Just as quick as the image is burned into your memory, you are brought back to reality; Gabriens hand leaves your arm and time flows once again, less than a heartbeat having passed. You half stumble, half lurch forward, your body momentarily drained by the unexpected ordeal of Gabrien invading your mind so abruptly.


Everette, Demetrius, Amber, and Sara; Reoul Slavek starts to rise from his chair, but a firm hand from one of the two personnel at his sides forces him back down. Gabrien please,” the trader whines while trying to squirm out from under the gloved hand. “Master Teriven, the current keeper of this station, will be out there to meet with newcomers. This is his private hanger, reserved for only the most special of people. He will need smoothing over after seeing my shuttle docked here.”

“And that is why Meister Evangaluff and Demetrius will be dealing with him, as my proxy. I am sure the dock-master will more than forgive your shuttle being here when he learns that we are expected by master Leeds.” Barnabass purrs before waving over to Slavek. “We will be down in a moment; there is still a private matter my daughters and I must have with the trader.” The trade-baron finishes, turning his attention away from you.

Not needing, or wanting, to find out what that private matter is you leave the shuttle and come out into the larger hanger. Dock-master Teriven is not hard to spot, clad in deep green administrator robes and walking to the shuttle with nothing short of a sour look on his face. As you near a dozen paces of the man, he opens matters with the grace of an ork in a glass-shop. “First that degenerate slob has the gall to land his filth here and now the man sends peons to take the blow for him. Tell your master that he has one minute to exit this bay before I have all of you jettisoned with the rest of the garbage.”

Everette, without missing a beat, proceeds to enlighten the dock-master as to who he represents. Initially, merely mentioning Barnabass in conjunction to Slavek does nothing to shift Teriven’s demeanour. When the historian changes tact and mentions that Barnabass has business with Nathaniel Leeds, which gets the dock-masters attention. At that point, Teriven’s tone makes a dramatic shift as he seeks forgiveness for his earlier comments. However, that does not stop him from trying to inquire about the nature of the business, a question in which Demetrius is easily able to deflect for Everette, and allow the historian to inquire about the rogue trader.

Teriven gladly informs you that Leeds is not only here on station, but has been expecting someone to join him and that the dock-master has been instructed to take that second party to meet with him straight away. “Then let’s stop wasting time and go.” The less cultured voice of Amber purrs from behind you, the younger daughter of the trade baron locked around one of her father’s arms while Sara hovers near the other; Grex and Kreshk stand a few paces to the side of their charges with Slavek and his guards stand a short distance behind the trade-baron; Methanor completes the group, coming up behind you.

[As Everette speaks with the dock-master, Demetrius is able to read the man’s surface thoughts. In doing this he discovers that Teriven knows nothing of the business between Leeds and Barnabass, he didn’t even know of the identity of Barnabass until just now. Politely informing Teriven that the nature of the business between Leeds and Barnabass is private, known only to the trade-baron and rogue trader, will be enough to forestall any further attempts for information.]


Amber and Sara; When Everette and Demetrius both depart the shuttle, you look from Slavek to Gabrien as the inquisitor speaks to the sprint trader. “Do not think you can fool me meister Slavek; we were more than able to facilitate your capture, do not think I or my people so easy to fool. Do not worry, things are nearly concluded, you will be released before too long. Should you try anything until then though, know that I am more than capable of snuffing out your life with but a word.” And with that, Barnabass slowly rises from his chair, extending a hand to Amber before proceeding to follow Sara down the ramp and into the hanger.

The hanger is massive, easily the size of some of the larger sections of the upper hives on Ambers homeworld. The enclosed space feels slightly comforting to the former ganger, though admittedly less so for the healer. Not too far from the shuttle you see Everette and Demetrius speaking to a man in green robes that could only be the dock-master. You can see Methanor, Kreshk, and Grex standing near the landing stanchions of the shuttle, the pilot nodding at you and alerting the pair of mercenaries to your arrival. The trio take their places, with Methanor leading the way and Grex and Kreshk remaining close at hand.

Coming to Everette and Demetrius, you overhear the dock-master mention that he has been asked to escort you directly to Leeds; prompting Amber to cut in. “Then let’s stop wasting time and go.”

[This time around you’ll notice fewer of these from me; they are generally here for prompting or choices to be made. I don’t think you need any major prompting from me here, but any questions feel free to contact me about and ask. Also, something to note is that there will generally be more for the less combat oriented characters to do in non-combat oriented updates.]
 

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"Finally" Thought Everette, as the ship landed inside the Hangar. He was certain the rest of his comrades thoughts were exactly the same. He stood up and made one last habitual touch to his clothing trying to straighten the slight wrinkles as much as possible. The worm and his soldiers left the ship along with the two mercs, the Kroot's long strides outpacing Grex by a long shot, but Grex's broad chested stoic behavior played a contrasting card quite nicely.

Just as Everette was making his way out and thinking about how nice it was to have those two in front in case bullets and las rounds started flying for a likely idiotic egotistical reason, he looked down a further perspective to see his kind of bullet flying toward them dressed in a bright green robe and a face full of eager emotion.

Everette sighed once more before his spine straightened and his hair seemed to lift a bit. He stepped through the mercenaries to meet the incoming dock master head on.

“First that degenerate slob has the gall to land his filth here and now the man sends peons to take the blow for him. Tell your master that he has one minute to exit this bay before I have all of you jettisoned with the rest of the garbage.”

The Historian already had his hands up indicating 'calm down' before the Man had even finished.

"Please, please my friend and respectful Dock Master of....this station. I apologize on behalf of master Barnabass for the apparent mis-communication. However, he is here on appointment with Natahanial Leeds. I'm afraid some unprecedented events have caused us to be a bit late already."

Everette looked to the Dock masters eyes and was satisfied to see his face change like a paper fortune teller. His goal of making the Dock Master apologetic had been achieved but a curve ball flew his way when the man inquired about the details of the appointment. Demtrius was behind him and thank the Emperor was an Astropath. He had likely seen the Dock master's question before it was spoken and had an answer ready to go to deflect it in Everette's stead.

After the Dock master informs the group that he is to take Leed's guests to him personally, Amber suddenly came from behind him with 'Barnabass' and Sara his other 'daughter' Amber declaring, "“Then let’s stop wasting time and go.”

what a delightful spice thought Everette.

He raised a robed arm silently and sarcastically in an 'after you' fashion first to Amber, then to Demetrius, and then to a few of the others before finally having enough of his wrapped up team saving and followed suit.
 

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Kreshk stirred as the ship began to land. The scents of engine oil and human sweat became apparant as the craft entered the station and the smells and sounds of life aboard the starport became apparant very quickly. Kreshk let a few clicks escape his beak, it had been some time since he had engaged in violence and his rarely-used patience was starting to wear out. If he didn't get into some kind of violence naturally soon he would strike the nearest human that looked like he could last more than a few seconds in battle. Kreshk rose to his full height, easily two heads taller than any of the humans, made sure his rifle was secured on his back and followed Grex as he left the ship and entered the hangar bay. As he did he noticed that the Inquisitor held Demetrius back, he quickly dismissed any thoughts on the matter as pointless.

Aside from the servitor-machines that reeked of machine oil, cauterised flesh and decay, the hangar was devoid of life and of any threats. Kreshk whistled briefly, the sound carrying through the cavernous space in an echo until it gradually faded away. Kreshk scented the air, still the same smells of ship fuel, machine oil and the human Slavek's fear. He noticed the green-robed human approaching the historian and was briefly and mildly surprised to find that he recognized the human who he remembered was called Tervian. He had been a lowly functionary the last time Kreshk had been here and had clearly been promoted. Kreshk laughed, a series of fast clicks, at the human who had made the unwise choice years ago of informing Kreshk that the station would not tolerate his violent behaviour anymore and ordering him to leave. Several broken pieces of furniture and bones quickly changed the human's tone and Kreshk had not been bothered again. He wondered if Tervian remembered him.

"What do you make of them Kreshk?" Kreshk turned to look at what the mercenary Grex was indicating. An Imperial Navy cutter, the edges all cold functionality and brutal sharp lines, was docked in the station with several humans clustered around it. "Former Imperial navy unless I miss my guess. That begs the question, what the fuck are former Navy boys doing this far out and how in the hell did they come into the service of sackless pigs like these damn traders?"

Kreshk scented the air, he smelled addiction and desperation coming from the humans that surrounded the cutter. Likely they were navy who had gotten addicted to the wrong substance, crossed the wrong peopl trying to get more and ended up out here in the waste-end of Imperial space working for the only people who didn't care what substances they put into themselves provided they did the jobs nobody else wanted to do. He said as much to Grex.

"I can smell the narcotics coming off them. Addicts, probably deserters. Here to work for their product rather than steal it from the navy." Kreshk laughed, wondering if the navy deserters would be willing to fight him if he promised them narcotics for winning. Or if he just strode up and struck them. Kresh turned his head to look at the larger of the two shuttles, the scents that came from them were the oldest scents he remembered that were not greenery and Kroot flesh. Blood and death.

"There's either a freshcorpse in that one right now, or there was one a few minutes ago," he explained to Grex, pointing at the larger of the two shuttles. The blood was invigorating and made him want to start violence even more than he had a few seconds ago. Kreshk was on the verge of actually going up to the Navy deserters and attacking them when he saw the ganger and the medic leave the shuttle. He sneered in his thoughts, but duty to the Inquisitor came before snapping necks.

"Looks like we're needed," he said to Grex as he crossed over to the group and stood behind Amber. Kreshk gave the human Tervian a brief nod, snickering at the panic he glimpsed in the functionary's eyes as he saw the Kroot. Either the human did remember him or he had just become afraid of Kroot in general, either was acceptable to Kreshk. The ganger voice intruded on his mental game with the functionary, her request for the meeting to move ahead was fine with the Kroot mercenary. He was already bored here, but there was always the chance that violence would erupt from this meeting as it did so often when working for a human Inquisitor. Kreshk dearly hoped this would prove to be one of those times.
 

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The craft rocked and twisted as Methanor brought it gliding into the hangar, the expanse of the large room beyond visible through the side portals. Selnak couldn't help but sigh as he stood, the creak in his knees and the cracking pop in his back a testament to the length of time he had been sitting at the table. Press-checking his pistols once more, the gleaming silver of shell casings meeting his eyes through the matte black fo the breech, satisfying him that all was in order. His right hand stroked the small of his back, the hilt to his combat blade, secure and readily available over his right hip, a smile ghosting his lips as he relished contact with the weapon. Shrugging his shoulders, he settled his whole rig more comfortably on his body, before heading from the passenger compartment, down the ramp.

He couldn't help but shift uncomforably as he passed by Demetrius, who had been stalled in his tracks by a stern looking Gabrien. As a rule, Grex avoided psykers. He found them unnatural, subject to flaws that could break their spirit at any moment, and that their abilities were far outweighed by the problems of having them around. Of course, Gabrien was skilled in manipulating warp energies, but for some reason Grex's dislike didn't seem to encompass his employer. It was probably the money... Selnak would put up with a lot for the right amount.

He found himself following Kreshk from their craft, the Kroot's entire body almost vibrating with barely restrained energy as he scented the air, small dark eyes snapping from one side of the hanger to the other. Selnak followed the xeno's eyes aroung the room and to his surprise found that it was little different than it had been a decade ago. The space was large, luxurious, especially in comparison to their cramped and dilapidated shuttle. It definitely provided the kind of welcome that a wealthy, if not shady, businessman would expect. He was half surprised there wasn't an army of peons waiting at the foot of the ramp to see to their needs. All the same, as he set foot onto the cold steel of the deck itself, something felt off, made him twitchy. There was no reception. Surely the persona of the Inquistors alias warranted more than an empty hanger deck. Grex narrowed his gaze, taking in their details of their surroundings, forgetting about what was missing, focusing on what was there.

Across the way from their ship, two other shuttles sat in bearth, their crews moving with the languid pace that said their superiors were nowhere close. other than the ships and their crews, the bay was almost empty, none of the detritous that would indicate shipping and trade. Nothing that said this place was used for the purpose that this station advertised.

Leaning back casually against the hull of their shuttle, Grex watched as the historian shuffled forward to greet a functinary of the station that had finally deemed their presence worth dealing with, but it was the other crews that had his attention, that and the feeling of unease that had settled in the base of his spine. He really didn't need Methanor to call these men to his attention, but still he thought he should put voice to his own concerns, perhaps his Kroot friend had seen or smelled something that would give face to the cause for his nervous energy.

Jutting his chin in the direction of the nearest cutter, as his hands habitually found the small flask of Andoran whisky in his vest, the smooth burn of the liquid causing his belly to pur in pleasure, "What do you make of them Kreshk?" He inquired of the Kroot, who slowly turned to face him, his beaked visage pulsing as it tasted the air coming from that direction. Grex had finally placed the familiarity of the crews movements. "Former Imperial Navy unless I miss my guess," he said matter of factly, "but that begs the question, what the fuck are form Navy boys doing this far out and how in the hell did they come into the service of sackless pigs like thes damn traders?"

If the Kroot could have wrinkled his nose he might have, at least that was the impression he got as he watched the alien scent the air. "I can smell the narcotics coming off of them," he said, his beak clacking around the words, adding to the crispness of their delivery, "Addicts. Probably deserters. Here to work for their product rather than steal it from the Navy." That made sense, the visible signs of addiction couldn't be gleaned at this distance, but to the Kroot's sharp nose it must have been plain as day. The beast was useful indeed.

Turning his quilled head to the other ship, Grex saw what was almost hunger in Kreshk's eyes. "There's either a fresh corpse in that one right now, or there was one a few minutes ago," he said with a shake, almost invigorated by the presence of death. Grex had to admit that he was invigorated as well, all that sitting around had threatened a dull mission. With druggies and death already evident before they even got out of the hanger bay, he thought his particular skillset in this endeavor might be needed sooner rather than later.

"Looks like we are needed," Kreshk rasped turning to join the rest of the group. It appeared that Evangaluff had said or done what ever had needed to be said to the functionary that had bustled forth. Methanor grunted, pointing up the ramp, and turning Grex saw that Sara and Amber had descended from the shuttle, an imperious air about them, and he fell into step behind them, filling the role of loyal protector. Something told him, as he walked behind his charges, that he was going to be fulfilling that role in truth in the near future.
 

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Stepping from the cockpit, Demetrius kept his face neutral as he made his way to ramp of the ship passing the rest of the team as he did so. Before he could even get down the ramp, a hand shot out and grabbed his upper arm in a vice grip. Time seemed to slow as a voice cut it's way into his mind like a scalpel. Wishing he could pull away from it, he almost began to resist before he realised it was Gabrien and promptly stopped.

-There are those always watching, those strong enough to hide themselves even from you. Never again make the mistake of thinking you can hide a slip Demetrius, it only brings more attention to wandering minds. Your predecessor paid the price for that mistake; he served me for over twenty years before I was forced to put him down. I expect you to not fail in that regard and to be able to outlast him.

The intrusion into his mind was bad enough, but was nothing compared to the image that followed. A man, obviously Gabrien's former astropath, writhing in what at first appears to be extreme pain. Limbs contorting to form inhuman tenticles, the ends flexing and moving almost as if they had a mind on their own. Looking at the man's eyes are what did it for Demetrius, and he emitted a small whimper of fear as he saw the empty sockets filled with black oily orbs that almost seemed to laugh at him, looking as though they hungered for.... something...

Even though it felt like forever, the moment came to an abrupt end, Gabrien seemed to have gotten his point across and let go of Demetrius. Stumbling slightly, a wave of nausea and exhaustion washed over him and he grabbed the side of the loading ramp to steady himself, taking deep breaths until it passed. Although he felt better, the fear at what Gabrien had just subjected him to held him in a vice, and it was all he could do not to curl up in a corner. Breathing deep again he perked up as he heard Gabrien speak his name to Reoul Slavik.

And that is why Meister Evangaluff and Demetrius will be dealing with him, as my proxy. I am sure the dock-master will more than forgive your shuttle being here when he learns that we are expected by master Leeds.” Barnabass purrs before waving over to Slavek. “We will be down in a moment; there is still a private matter my daughters and I must have with the trader.

Nodding his head the anxiety from what just happened receding slightly before his sense of duty, Demetrius strolled down the ramp with Everett moving to intercept a man garbed in the dark green of the Administratum. Looking at the mans robe, Demetrius felt a yearning for his own robes, again finding himself fidgeting with the hem of his flight suit. Before they could get within twelve paces of the man, he spoke to them in a voice tinged with anger and disgust.

“First that degenerate slob has the gall to land his filth here and now the man sends peons to take the blow for him. Tell your master that he has one minute to exit this bay before I have all of you jettisoned with the rest of the garbage.”

Shuddering at the thought of being jettisoned into the dark black void, Demetrius stood slightly behind the historian as he raised his hands in a calm down gesture.

"Please, please my friend and respectful Dock Master of....this station. I apologize on behalf of master Barnabass for the apparent mis-communication. However, he is here on appointment with Natahanial Leeds. I'm afraid some unprecedented events have caused us to be a bit late already."

Sifting through the outer thoughts of the man, mainly to be sure that he wouldn't make good on his threat to have them all jettisoned into space, Demetrius found that the man, Terivian was his name, had no idea of the business between Barnabass and Leeds. He hadn't even known about Barnabass until just now. Seeing all of this, he was ready when the man voiced his question about the nature and details of their appointment.

" Pardon sir, but the details of the appointment between Sir Barnabass and Mr Leeds remains private." He said politely to the man. Truly accepting the answer, which Demetrius knew since he was still reading the mans thoughts, Terivian nodded before saying that he was to take them to Leeds personally. Demetrius almost jumped clear out of his skin as he heard Amber speak from behind him. Wanting to stay at the back of the group, he fell in beside the historian as the rest of the party walked in front of them, promptly ignoring his after you motion.
 

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The hangar doors slid open, seemingly after an age, and I coasted the shuttle in to land. Even in that shit tub, the landing was smooth and easy. I powered down the systems, settling the crate gently onto its landing legs. I unstrapped myself and stood, following Demetrius into the passenger bay where the rest of our team stood, along with Slavek and his two bodyguards.

I continued on with nothing more than a nod to Gabrien, before activating the door release that sent the shuttle’s ancient and rusting hatch down with a protesting squeal from the hydraulics. The hangar floor was obscured by the gases rising from the shuttle. I walked down the hatch before turning and leaning against one of the landing legs. I watched the servitors come and plug in fuel lines.

I swept the area with a practiced gaze honed through many long years of service to an Inquisitor. The hangar was almost devoid of life. The only other men in sight were flight crew gathered around the two large shuttles. I scanned the shuttles first. One was a basic transport shuttle, a newer and improved version of the crate I had flown to get us there. The other was heavily armed, an escort for the smaller shuttle it seemed. My eyes traced the shuttles hulls and I noted the symbol painted on. Some kind of fiery bird of prey with a core of orange and wings of bright blue. Clustered about the shuttles were the flight crew. Hard looking men in basic overalls but every inch of them screamed ex-Navy slobs. Men who’d taken money to fly and lost all honour.

My lips curled into a sneer of contempt. I hated men who ended service to the Emperor and the Imperium and worked for personal gain.

“Definitely ex-Navy,” I murmured to myself as Kreshk and Grex spoke of the flight crew. “Deserters is likely, though they don’t look the stupid type. Dishonest yes, disloyal yes. But stupid? I doubt a Rogue Trader would employ people stupid enough to desert the Navy.” But then again, I was naive then. The men probably were deserters, traitors. But then I did not concern myself with them.

I was focussed, after my scanning of the shuttle, on the man even now talking with Everett. I pointed up the ramp and grunted, seeing Sara and Amber descending down the ramp They moved to follow close behind Sara and Amber while I stayed two paces behind them, still warily scanning the hangar.
 

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Sitting in the enclosed confines of the drop ship was uncomfortable, especially now that they were set down. She had never liked flying, even years of travelling with Gabrien hadn't managed to accustom her to the strange sensations and views that greeted someone in a spaceship or flyer. At least the landing had finally given her some space from Kreshk, she didn't like the strange alien being, quite acutely in fact. He had made no secret of his attempts to torment her either and to be locked in this enclosed space with him... it, had been almost more than she could bear.

The hangar was larger, but without being able to see the great void of space it reminded her more of the great caverns of the underhive. She felt more at home here than she had, more comfortable. Even so, she took Gabrien's hand with an air of gratefulness, masking the real flush she felt at actual contact with the great man. She took care to control her breathing, calming herself, allowing herself to be the aloof, superior woman she needed to be.

Holding Gabrien's hand delicately, she allowed him to lead her down the ramp, following Sara moving gracefully before them. Amber couldn't help it, but she had to admit the dress made her feel beautiful and powerful in a way she wasn't used to and it almost distracted her from her own role in the deceit. She caught the last of the conversation as they reached the deck of the hangar. “Then let’s stop wasting time and go.”
 

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Sara watched as Reoul Slavek started to rise from his chair when the craft finally settled down in the hanger and the ships ramp opened up to the confined space of the craft that they had landed in, before being pushed back down by one of the two men that had sat either side of him. She was glad that they had landed safely, hating being confined to the small crafts especially one that looked like it was held together by virtually nothing. The trader started to speak to the Inquisitor, trying to get out of the craft as quickly as possible and talk to the “keeper” of the station. She wasn’t sure whether he was trying to help or hinder, and was glad that the Inquisitor had stopped him.

“And that is why Meister Evangaluff and Demetrius will be dealing with him, as my proxy. I am sure the dock-master will more than forgive your shuttle being here when he learns that we are expected by master Leeds.” Barnabass purrs before waving over to Slavek. “We will be down in a moment; there is still a private matter my daughters and I must have with the trader.”

He waited for the others to leave, meaning that it was Amber, Sara, the Inquistor and a few of the men left on board with the trader, whilst the others made it look like they were either guards for the entourage, or try and placate the “keeper” once more. “Do not think you can fool me meister Slavek; we were more than able to facilitate your capture, do not think I or my people so easy to fool. Do not worry, things are nearly concluded, you will be released before too long. Should you try anything until then though, know that I am more than capable of snuffing out your life with but a word.”

Sara stayed silent as the Inquisitor threatened the Rogue trader, hovering with Amber near the ramp. When he was done he extended an arm to Amber and motioned for Sara to lead the way down the ramp. Sara stepped confidently onto the ramp and led the second party down, waiting at the bottom of it to take the other side of the Inquisitor though he didn’t extend an arm to her to hold.

Sara noted the size of the hanger when the group moved towards the Dock Master and Everette and Demetrius, a rather large hanger for a private dock she thought. Nevertheless she didn’t allow her emotions or thoughts to betray anything, keeping a neutral experession on her face she stepped forward in time with the others and they made their way over, catching the end of the convosation where the Dock Master said he was to take them to Leeds, the man they were here to meet. Amber quickly cut in to get moving and the group moved off, the girls and the Inquisitor at the front. Sara couldn’t help to feel a little unease at the mission, much preferring to have her armour or her medicae robes on and not to pretend she was something that she wasn’t. However the Inquisitor needed her to act, and as such she would do.
 

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All; For the briefest moment, dock master Terivan’s face betrays irritation at Amber’s dismissive tone; but a look at Kreshk and Grex is enough to keep the man silent beyond some mutterings. As everyone is directed towards a lift terminal, Sara inquires about the hangar itself, why the lack of other ships or personnel. Terivan answers this with a smile that it was a request from Nathaniel Leeds so that whatever business he had to do would not be disturbed. The lift itself is very well designed, a marble floor holding up walls of fine wood and inlaid pearl, and you barely even notice the upwards motion.

Walking from the lift you come out to an expansive galleria, high arches quite literally reaching to the distant stars; there being no roof, simply a void shield offering an awe inspiring view of two of the systems nearby suns. For all the galleria’s splendor, multi-leveled terraces and exotic fauna, a great fountain statue designed in the likeness of the primarch Roboute Guilliman kneeling to someone or something unseen, despite these things you quickly notice a distinct lack of other people. There are what appear to be servants and attendants, but beyond your group no one else.

Everette brings this up with Terivan, whose response again is that it was a request from Leeds in order for his business to remain private. A grunt of irritation escapes the lips of Barnabass as he calls a halt to the group. Master Leeds, enough with this show of influence. If you and I are to do business then show yourself or we shall be on our way.” The trade Barons calls out into the air, drawing the attention of many of the attendants and draining the colour from Terivans features. There is a chuckle and then the clapping of gloved hands, hands attached to the arms of a man who had been waiting in the shadows of an arch.

Nathaniel Leeds is most easily described as handsome; a well-built olive skinned frame clothed in material that would leave many in the Imperial court speechless. And then there is his voice, smooth as silk but with an undercurrent of authority. “My apologies Baron Barnabass, I simply wished to see your reaction in order to best understand the man I would be brokering a deal with. Thank you Terivan, your services are no longer required.” He said with a look that made things perfectly clear who was in control here.

“Please my lord, let us sit and discuss.” Leeds says, gesturing towards one of the terraces. “No good sir, standing suits me just fine.” Barnabass returns with a wry smile.

“Very well then, might I inquire how you learned of my troubles then?”

“Indeed you may, though I suspect you are the kind of man smart enough to have figured it out from seeing my party. The details of your troubles were given to me by master Slavek here, in exchange for me sparing his life. He attempted to cheat me, you see, and that is something I could not have.” Barnabass waves a hand in the sprint traders direction, who attempts to cut in but is sent to the ground when Grex delivers his fist into the man’s gut. The look on Leeds face indicates that this is indeed the conclusion he had come to, but Barnabass’s next words rob him of that confidence.

“That, however, is nothing more than a work of fiction I am afraid; I simply wished to see how Slavek would react. The truth about how I know of your troubles is because I am the cause of them.”

The rogue traders reaction is nearly instantaneous, with a snarl the man tears a gold inlaid bolt pistol from a holster at his side, snapping the fingers of his free hand. Nearly fifty of the gathered staff reveal autoguns or shotguns. “You? You have been the power behind all this! Give me one reason to not blow your head off!”

“Because if you do, then my people will not stop until everything having to do with you is dead or destroyed. Do you truly believe I would simply back you into a corner and present myself to you without holding all of the cards? Your threat has little power, and I can just as easily turn my attention elsewhere to ensure my empire is secure for my daughters when I do eventually pass on from this life.”

With an angry sigh, Leeds lowers his pistol and motioning for the gathered mercenaries to stand down. “If that is the case, then I have no doubt you are at least somewhat aware of the items I have access to and wish access to them? What is it you are proposing?”

“My influence stretches across more than a dozen sectors, you will be granted majority selling rights to all worlds; that means oversights and questions not being asked. For this, all I require from you is a modest cut from your profits, consider it an ongoing finder’s fee; though before we agree to anything I would be remiss if I was not shown a sample of what you have to offer.”

Leeds pretends to stroke his chin, as if thinking, but you can tell he is actually speaking into a micro-vox. “I can most definitely comply with such a request if it grants me the trading rights you assure.” The rogue trader says while a container is brought out and set before you all.

Kreshk steps to the container, examining the contents and taking out what appears to be a rifle. However the handle looks wrong, as if it is designed for a hand with too few fingers. The kroot confirms that the weapon and the other items are of Tau origin, except for one knife which is clearly kroot.

“Good than it ple-“ Barnabass begins to say only for the rogue trader to cut him off.

“Who are you? And no more lies this time!” He says, bringing the pistol up once again. “There is an Imperial warship nearing this station, a ship which is closing in unchallenged.”

That can’t possibly be right, the only ship like that would have to be the Endless Absolution and her crew would not jeopardize an operation like this.

“Well this is most troubling indeed. Time for this charade to be dropped then; I did not lie to you when I claimed to be the source of your troubles. However Nathaniel Leeds, I am no trade baron and my name is not Goliath Barnabass. It is actually Iresmis Gabrien of the Emperor’s mostly holy inquisition and you are found guilty of violating His edicts in trading in forbidden xenos technology. For this crime, the warrant of trade granted to your bloodline is forfeit and you are to come with me for judgment.”

“Also, I thank you for arranging this meeting Reoul but your use to the Inquisition is at an end.” Gabrien says, producing a shurican pistol from the folds of his sleeve and putting a shuriken into the head of Slavek.

“You are welcome to try inquisitor, but like you said I am backed into a corner and you appear to be outgunned nearly six to one.” Leeds points out with a sneer. “You will not leave this station alive, or this galleria for that matter. I on the other hand have other business to attend to.” He says before activating something on his arm, vanishing with a bang of displaced air.

You barely notice this however, as Leeds made his escape, his mercanaries open fire and force you to run for cover.

Grex, Demetrius, and Methanor diver for the nearest cover before firing back at the rogue traders mercenaries; the bounty hunter quickly putting a round in one mercenaries head and throwing another to the ground with a shot to his shoulder. A round imbeds itself in Grex’s arm, but his armour stopped the bulk of its kinetic force and he shrugs it off.

Kreshk takes his fight to the enemy, dodging shots with inhuman speed and delivering an axe-like blow to the head of a mercenary with his rifle.

Everette, Amber, and Sara all find themselves stuck out in the open when the bullets start flying; rounds stopping a mere meter before the group. Gabrien orders the three to move, straining to maintain the kine shield he had erected around everyone. An autogun round manages to get through the shield, taking the inquisitor in the knee and sending him to the ground with a cry of pain.

[Kreshk, though your body has been enhanced by years of fighting (making it capable of absorbing some of the las and solid rounds coming at you) it is not impervious to close range shotgun rounds so take care. You find yourself in the midst of four mercenaries and will be more than able to take out two or three of them.

Grex, Methanor, and Demetrius, you are being shot at by what feels like half the assembled mercenaries. Normally you would be able to boast better training than your enemy, but these mercenaries are definitely ex-guard by the way they move and overlap fire. Grex is able to silence four mercenaries before a gut shot knocks him off his feet. Demetrius and Methanor will be able to account for another seven between them.

With Gabrien down, there is no more shield though you are close enough to use the fountain-statue for cover. Sara is faced with the choice of either treating Gabrien or putting bolt rounds in the mercenaries; should treating the inquisitor be chosen, giving Amber the pistol is an option. Should Sara choose to fight, then helping Gabrien will fall to the ex-ganger. Depending on the choice made, Sara will be able to kill four mercenaries while Amber only two; and if she uses the bolt pistol, the first shot will buck hard enough to snap it back into her cheek for a nasty bruise.

Everette, with no weapons training you find yourself in anything but your comfort zone when bullets start flying and people start dying. Instead, you just try to stay out of the way, though Gabrien’s hand grabbing your foot before thrusting his pistol in your chest is enough to get a quick point across. The alien weapon is..alien, on top of being a gun which is not your forte. Unlike everyone else, you only manage to wing a few people, though it does look like one took a shuriken to the neck if that spray of blood is an indicator of anything.]
 

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If Kreshk had possessed the correct anatomy to smirk at the dock master's sudden silence after a glance at him and the bounty hunter, he would have done so. Fear like that was not something you could earn from a human by just being an alien to them, you had to earn it through violence and Kreshk had more than earned the many glances of fear he had received from humans throughout his career as a mercenary. The group continued to discuss things that did not involve bones breaking and as such Kreshk ignored them, merely following and narrowing his eyes whenever the dock master or any of the guards glanced his way. Before long he began clacking his beak, the whistling sounds familiar to him as a sign of his growing boredom. He briefly fantasised about snapping the dock master's neck like a Tau's, it would be immensely satisfying but it would cost him the Inquisitor's goodwill and above all, Kreshk fulfilled his contracts. A mercenary who did not would soon find himself dead or out of business, and for Kreshk those two were one and the same.

Before long Kreshk found himself standing behind the group as they met with the Rogue Trader on the terrace. The Kroot found the entire room to be uncomfortable, nature transplanted into metal like this felt unnatural to his innate Kroot senses. The statue of Roboute Guilliman too did not impress, humans were always going on about these Primarchs and how impressive they had been. Kreshk had seen Space Marines before and had killed them, albeit not easily and not alone, but they were definitely not the gods that humanity proclaimed them to be and it stood to reason that these Primarchs were not either. Shaking his head and gnashing his beak Kreshk turned back to the meeting and found his eyes drawn to the crate that was being brought out. Without waiting for a go-ahead he stepped forward, aware of the group's eyes on him, and opened the crate. Inside was a Tau Pulse Rifle, of fairly solid make for what those cultists called weaponry, some unexploded Pulse Grenades that looked like they would still work, a Fire Warrior's helmet with some bullet holes in it, the sight of which made Kreshk click a few times in amusement, and a handful of Kroot knives that had some dried red blood on them.

"Tau, definitely Tau. Pulse Rifle, fairly recently made too. Some grenades, a helmet from one of their Fire Caste, can't tell which sept though, and some knives from one the Kroot spheres. All good condition."

Before he could turn Kreshk scented adrenaline release from several of the humans, he turned his gaze and saw the Rogue Trader holding a pistol towards the Inquisitor. The Kroot's heart began to beat faster and his vision began to wash in red as it always did when he detected the prospect of violence so close and so easy to spark. He clacked quietly as the Inquisitor dropped the ruse and declared the smuggler under arrest. The scent of blood forced his vision into pure crimson, everything taking on different shades of red as the Inquisitor shot the wretch with his Eldar weapon. Kreshk slowly put his hand to the back of his rifle, he would be able to unsling it in an instant and be among the prey before they even realised he was killing them.

Kreshk was so caught up in the imminent violence that he did not notice the Rogue Trader disappear in a puff of smoke, nor would he have cared. As soon as the mercenaries opened fire Kreshk squawked as loud as he could, the sound briefly overwhelming the gunfire and carrying across the entire chamber, a few of the mercenaries hesitated to fire as they realised what was facing them. Tensing himself Kreshk leapt foward, easily clearing the gap between himself and a group of four soldiers. Their hesitation cost them their lives. The first one he landed on as he leapt, forcing the soldier to the ground, and driving the blade of his Kroot rifle into his head with an overhead axe-blow. The blood and brain matter splattered over the floor and over Kreshk's arms, only furthering his rage. Ripping the rifle free he swung it at the legs of a second mercenary, taking his legs off below the knees and forcing him to the ground. Another overhead blow silenced his pitiful cries forever. A third attempted to fire his short range weapon, a slug-thrower, but before he could aim properly Kreshk grabbed the dead second mercenary and held the scum like a shield. The shot took the mercenary in the chest, drenching Kreshk in even more blood, and giving Kreshk the time to aim his rifle and blast the shooter point-blank in the face. The Kroot Rifle's upgraded pulse blast melted his head into a ragged, cauterized stump. Kreshk howled savagely as he turned to find the last of the group.


LotN
 

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She felt it coming before it happened, and was beginning to move before the guns even came up. Then the air around her was torn into a hurricaine of metal and spinning pain. A fraction of a second later it was deathly peaceful, the gunfire still echoing through the huge space but the bullets and lasblasts impacting on a shimmering surface a few feet around them. It rippled with each impact and Amber turned to see the strain on Gabrien's face.

She turned to look out at the Chaos around them, seeing Kreshk cannon into the mercenaries, slaying three soldiers almost before she could take it in. They were attempting to move out of the deadly crossfire, but with the Inquisitor it was slow going. The illusion of peace shattered.

An autogun round, travelling at two thousand feet per second, passed through the shield and caught Gabrien in the knee, there was a spray of thick, glutinous blood and the shield dropped instantly, a bullet whipping past Amber's eye close enough for her to feel the scorching heat of it's passage. The inquisitor had gone down with a cry and she dived down beside him, sheltering behind the thickly decorated fountain that was steadily shaking and crumbling under the barrage of gunfire.

There was still blood pouring from the wound and she pressed her hands to it, tearing the bottom section of her dress off, not even blinking at her casual desecration of the expensive fabric. It was too awkward to fight in anyway.

She wound the makeshift tightly around the wound, staunching the flow of blood, at least for the moment...
 

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It all went to hell so quickly. Caught out in the open it was most likely that Everette, Amber, Gabrien and Sara would be mowed down by the fire from the mercenary's that had the advantage over the group, number wise as well as being in better cover than the group. However Gabrien was powerful, and the first bullets stopped a mere meter from the group, Sara under no illusions of what had happened. She almost breathed a sigh of relief, quietly thanking the Emperor.

The group moved as Gabrien tried to keep the kinetic shield up as they moved towards cover, giving them a chance to get into cover. That was until the Inquisitor was hit in the leg by a stray autogun round, which had managed to get through the shield. A cry of pain escaped Gabrien, Sara noting Amber reacting quickly by ripping part of her dress to stop the flow of blood as the group took cover behind a fountain.

Sara had a tough decision ahead, Amber had no medical treatment, but as long as she kept the bloodflow under control then Sara will be able to use the bolt pistol she had to take out some of the mercenaries. However, Sara was worried by the Inquisitor, and the loss of blood could be a potential problem. She ducked into cover by Amber, "Amber, take my gun, I'll treat the Inquisitor." She handed over her pistol before bringing up her narthecanium as she prepared to treat the Inquisitor. "My Lord, I'll get you patched up as soon as possible, though this may hurt more as I work on you." She warned the Inquisitor before getting to work.
 
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