Assignment 1: Interim
THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL!
PROJECT: ACTIVE -- DUE DATE: August 22, 2012
So after the conclusion of Prologue: Fiery Origins there is a 3 year gap to Chapter I: A Debt Repaid. In that time you have control of the ship The Last Testament and have journeyed through several systems doing Emperor knows what. This writing assignment is to flesh out some of the details during that time. It would strongly behoove you to coordinate your efforts to make this believable. Afterall, travelling great distances consumes a great deal of time and in 3 years you may have only journey to and back from one really far place or travelled to several closer places. Choice is yours. These writing samples are meant to be "snapshots" of what was occurring at one point during the 3 year span. Do not summarize the whole 3 years but write about a specific event that happened during that time frame. Requirements are as follows:
The bottle of amasec had been full a few minutes ago; it now lay empty in a pile of glass at the corner of the room. It had only been six months after the catastrophe on The Redeemer, and while the physical wounds of the event had already healed Octavious was still struggling to cope. Lord Gregarion was far too untouchable a man to have been close to, but he had been the one man he could truly claim to look up to. Likewise, the loss of the ship and the majority of the crew were an enormous blow, it had been the sort of event to shake even the most hardened man. “Still,” Octavious mused aloud, “It all lays on my shoulders.”
The drinking had become a crutch, there was no denying that fact, but Octavious maintained a professional attitude out and about. He was certain the only crew who really knew how he was self-medicating were his head officers, the majority of whom had survived that harrowing brush with chaos, and his aide. Tychon, Remi, and Malachai had all been there and witnessed what he had. Given their understanding and Lius’ inane ability to remain discrete it hadn’t been a major issue. His upbrining also helped with the nightly binges, few nobles do well without being able to pass off sobriety despite imbibing heavily. He could still do his job and that’s what really mattered. Octavious knew the crew would remain loyal regardless of what he did in his off time but he knew that any show of weakness could negatively impact the already tremulous morale.
Looking at the brass chronometer inlaid on the desk revealed the change in the watch to be rapidly approaching. A few hours more and they would be arriving at high anchor over Tanzumar, a small and seedy moon rotating slowly around the feral world of Hycanth. The place had become known as a haven for criminal elements trading in black market goods. Located just inside Imperial space near a cluster of systems deemed undesirable by the Imperial navy due to excessive alien habitation it was a prime launching point for moving such goods into more civilized space making it the perfect target for down on their luck trade dynasties.
A glance at his arm revealed the vicious scar left that night to still be in the same state it had been for weeks. He mused it must be the influence of the warp that had caused the wound to be so slow to heal. It still wept incessantly, reminding Octavious of a slow oil leak in an old auto. The ship’s doctor wasn’t able to explain it though he did assure him that it was improving, albeit too slow to see from day to day. The unnatural taint of chaos and a constant reminder of that day it served to bring up his blood every time he looked at it. Wrapping it up in bandages his reverie was broken by a knock at the door. “Sir, we are beginning approach. Your presence is demanded on the bridge”.
Rousing himself Octavious stood and donned his shirt and jacket, hefting the kit bag containing his armor. Opening the door to find Lius waiting just outside, his arm stretched forward proffering a pack of Ilho sticks. “Requisitioned from the ships cook sir, I know you ran out yesterday”. Muttering thanks he accepted the pack and began his walk to the bridge. Each step seemed to shed the grimness off of him, he began to walk more erect and his footsteps became more assured. By the time he reached the bridge he was himself again, at least outwardly. The pain remained within, stowed away until the next time he found himself alone.
“Attention, Lord Trader on deck!” Lius insisted on announcing Octavious’ presence each time he reached the command deck, an annoying habit he had picked up from a short stint in the Imperial Navy. As the nearest of the amassed crew turn, many with smirks given the common knowledge the practice bothered him, Octavious assumes command and overseas their arrival. The Last Testament drifts smoothly to its target destination, a docking platform in lunar-synchronous orbit a few miles over Port Winnower. It takes only 30 minutes for the shore party to assemble in the launch hangar after docking.
The assembled party consists of a small assortment of the more adaptable crew; members whose past has lead them to be more capable of operating in a criminal environment. Octavious, his carapace fully donned, surveys the assembled crew checking that they are appropriately equipped. Surprise shows in his eyes when he realizes that Lius has included himself among them.
“I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised given that I put you in charge of assembling our group. Anyway, gentlemen, keep your wits about you. Recall these ports can be dangerous, when we arrive I want you to spread out and find out if anything big is happening. We need a serious job to keep us afloat right now, and remember. We don’t have enough clout to consider ourselves above much. Now let’s load up and get down there, keep your coms open”
The trip to the moon’s surface is short and mundane; upon arrival each member takes a different local hotspot for trade and begins looking for any possible leads on work. Octavious heads out in search of lodging. Within a few hours a base of operations is set up and a few leads gathered off world are looked into. It takes a full week before any actual lead materializes.
Wormwood tavern quickly becomes Octavious’ haunt in the first few days. His drinking is solitary and the dim lighting and quite atmosphere suit him perfectly. Most nights he occupies a worn leather booth at the corner of the bar, his back to the door he silently drowns himself in alcohol for a few hours before wandering back to their operations center to sleep. On the seventh day after arrival Octavious finds himself once again in the same spot.
Downing the dregs remaining at the bottom of the glass Octavious shifts his weight forward to stand but his movement is arrested by a hand on his shoulder. Turning to look, he finds himself face to face with a man in a greasy suit. “Word is you been looking fer a job, s’right?” Somewhat taken aback by the man’s forward familiar action and unkempt appearance Octavious rapidly rises, looking the man directly in his beady eyes. “That is correct, what kind of work could a man like you have? “ The man, seemingly unfazed by the blatant slight, had simply stated “The lucrative kind”, turned and waved his hand forward on the way to the door.
Left with little choice Octavious followed him. Once clear of the tavern the man began to prattle on, his mouth never ceasing to spout inane comments. Subjects went form the price of bread in town to the validity of the most recent crusade with the conversation being entirely one sided. Following Ocavious became increasingly certain that this man was wasting his time. The only relative information he could gather seemed to be that the man’s name was Janick and he had the unique ability to instantaneously destroy one’s patience using the common tongue. That is, until Janick turned into a back alley.
The complicated knock Janick struck on the door was clearly functioned as a password. The door rapidly opened and both Janick and Octavious were ushered in. Once both crossed the threshold the man at the door slammed it back shut engaging several deadbolts in doing so. Curiosity overwhelmed Octavious before he could begin to get nervous over being locked in. The door had opened on rather large and open courtyard. The architecture and various suspended rugs spoke of serious wealth and the numerous security measure and presence of armed guards spoke of power. Clearly; this was the contact they had been searching for.
Master of Mercantile Magentus Puardi was clearly the sort of man to always land on his feet. Hailing from some distant unheard of rim world he had managed to form a strong business front on Tanzumar from the ground up. The majority of his dealings seemed to be within the realm of legality despite being on the more distasteful side. Sanctioned narcotics, dark hearted curios, and contracted humans made up the lion share of his business with some shady dealings rounding out his sales repertoire. The majority of his trading involved moving large quantities of his legal goods with a few choice high dollar illegal finds stashed within the bulk of whatever was to be transported. The only major flaw was that he lacked the financial might to move his goods out of system. He had even managed to set up a route for each of his goods, ensuring that any given trader would not have to waste time searching for a buyer.
“And that, my dear friend Lord Octavious, is where I require your services”. Both men were seated across from one another on rugs, a low table between them with a pipe of brass set inside. The fumes, which Puardi exhaled whenever he spoke, were incredibly heady. It was a tactic Octavious knew many businessmen to employ, a powerful substance used to keep potential contractors off balance during dealings. Octavious graciously declined accepting the pipe when it was proffered, the innocuous sent of obscura hinted that it would clearly affect his ability to bargain. “I think we can come to an arrangement Magentus, though I am surprised you have not found a more consistent trade partner”.
At this Puardi’s jovial demeanor took on a much darker presence. “I have, in the past, consistently relied on such business transactions. It seems, however, that some local criminal sorts have taken to marking my trade goods. Out of the last five shipments three have been attacked, only one trader has been claimed but it has cast a rather dark mark on my business. None of the local traders seem to have the stomach for such risk.” The Master of trade tried to put on a show of diffidence, but it was clear to Octavious that he had a point of leverage. “Give me 10% extra off the top, and my services are yours.”
The process of loading the goods and preparing to travel consumed the next several days. In the flurry of activity Octavious managed to find some semblance of his old self. The drinking cut back sharply as the pressing need to prepare the ship overwhelmed his spare time. The only thing that seemed to be nagging him was Lius. In an attempt to increase security he had left the more sensitive items in the payload off of the manifesto. During the loading Lius had remarked that the recorded weight was incongruous with the reported tonnage on the given documentation for several of the large shipping containers. He had brought up his findings several times forcing Octavious to come up with a gallery of foils, misleads, and distractions to keep him off the issue. Admittedly he feared that Lius tendency towards the straight and true would negatively impact his performance. It seemed better to hide the knowledge of the black market goods for the good of the voyage.
The voyage was predicted to take three months in its entirety with a total of 14 stops to unload. Two weeks into the journey led them to a small and isolated ice world. The transition from the void went smoothly, still a source of high tension among the majority, albeit a day off course. A skeleton crew was assigned to take over the first twelve hours of approach to give the main body of the crew a chance for some solid rest. As The Last Testament drifted slowly through space its crew began to sleep while a lone individual prowled the cargo hold.
Lius had been unable to shake the certainty that something was wrong about the cargo. The variability in the mass recorded and measured was a clear indication that something was afoot. Lius knew that Octavious had been hiding something; he was determined to figure out what that was. Each freight container was clearly marked and he proceeded to the nearest manifest anomaly. The manifest had been recorded as weighing only three quarters of what was measured upon loading. Hefting a torque wrench he moved to remove the locking nuts in order to access the interior of the container. Attaching the driver he attempted to reverse off one of the nuts. He was shocked to find the nut spun freely, it had no connection to the containers framing. Trying another he found it also was un-anchored, he moved to try a third but a sound from inside the container froze him in his tracks. Even as he thumbed his vox onto the direct line to Octavious the sound of the first screws hitting the bottom of the container rang out.
The com line buzzed to life as Octavious was reaching for the bottle of amasec stored in the large wooden cabinet behind his desk. “Intruders, in the cargo hold! It’s a trap, Lord Trader…” The line was then overwhelmed with the sound of gunfire as the assailants poured forth from the container. Octavious immediately leapt to the console embedded in his desk and engaged the critical threat level protocols. He was up and donning his carapace armor even as Lius corpse hit the metal decking of the cargo bay, riddled with holes.
By the time Octavious reached the lower deck a pitched battle had already ensued. The corridor was alight with tracers, las shots, flashing ricochets, and muzzle bursts. He found one of the senior security officers taking refuge on the corner of a diverging hallway, taking intermitted pock shots from cover. “We have them hemmed in and restricted to the cargo bay sir; they haven’t got anywhere to go.” Nodding Octavious responded succinctly, “Good, let us make them pay for their insolence”. Withdrawing a wicked autorifle from his back he emptied a clip down the hallway, unloaded it, and thrust in a fresh clip. The slide clicked as it returned into place. “Alright, you men follow me!”
Octavious and the gathered security crew charged down the length of the hall cutting a bloody swathe through the enemy. The gunfire faltered under their forceful assault and the crew used the break to increase their momentum. Bellowing like a demon in his red and black carapace Octavious emptied the second clip and withdrew his power sword. Laying out enemy after enemy it only took about fifteen minutes and the lives of twelve of the crew to clear the hold. Octavious, winded by the long charge, found himself standing over the corpse of his late aide. “Thank you crewman, your sacrifice will not be forgotten.” He stood over Lius’ body for a few moments contemplating; his reverie was broken by a member of the security force. “Sir, we have found a live one”.
It took only fifteen minutes to interrogate the man. He was already in tatters, ripped open by several shots to the abdomen. He revealed what Octavious already suspected about the attack. They had been double crossed by Puardi. It seemed that the assailants were mercenary’s hired by the merchant to steal ships from the inside. They hadn’t been prepared for an aware ship, intending instead to catch them while the majority of the crew was asleep. Lius’ inquiry had saved the crew from certain doom; Octavious would not allow himself to fail them again. He knew one thing to be certain, Magentus Puardi would pay.
A survey of the remainder of the containers showed them to actually contain the goods they were assigned as holding. Octavious still needed to gather funding; it was a simple decision to continue the voyage. They unloaded the last of the cargo on schedule and found themselves returning to Tanzumar right at the close of the third month. Standing at the helm Octavious allowed himself a wolfish grin. He could practically taste the anticipation at getting his revenge, it had been a long voyage and he had been consumed by his hatred throughout it. When he got his hands on Puardi he would savour it, take his time and exact his revenge perfectly.
The raid was done commando style. A crew of six men including Octavious fast roped down off the sides of a personal carrier into the estates courtyard. Silently they moved throughout the compound dispatching every guard and worker. When they had cleared the rest of the building they stacked up outside of Puardi’s personal quarters. Octavious entered alone while the rest remained outside; turning as he entered the room he closed the doors behind him. The gathered men stood guard and waited for the next three and a half hours. Even the most brutal of the bunch grimaced at the long drawn out screams that the merchant emitted for the first couple hours. The last hour nothing was heard but an intermittent whimper, then silence. Octavious emerged shortly after, coated in blood up to his elbows. He said nothing and walked straight out the front door.
For years after the event crew members still whispered with one another as to what happened that night. Wild rumors were spread up and down as the crew tried to imagine what had occurred. Only one man other that Octavious had any idea what had happened. He had seen past the Lord Trader as he had emerged, looking over his shoulder as he exited the room. On long nights, after drinking heavily, that crewman could be coerced into telling the tale of what he had seen an event that kept him up many nights. He had only obtained a glimpse, but the image was burned into his mind. The merchant had been suspended from the ceiling with his stomach slit open hung from the chandelier. His intestines had been withdrawn from his stomach cavity and had been spread around the room. The crewman, however, was not kept awake at night by this. What kept him awake was the merciless smile of satisfaction the Lord Trader had worn as he walked out of the room.
Tychon had jumped ship at Port Winnower after the harrowing incedent that he had barely escaped from, on The Redeemer, to take a break from the nonstop battles that had become his life. The first thing on his mind was trying to relax a bit. He stepped into a small bar and grabbed the largest bottle of Amasec he could afford and a pack Lho Sticks. Looking around the bar it was empty except for a couple of patrons probably regulars. Tychon spotted a couple of dinky tables in the back corner farthest from the door and sat in the dimmly lit corner for what felt like hours until half a bottle later a frail older gentleman walked up and began talking."Excuse me sir but it looks like you can handle yourself in a fight." the older man wispered
Tychon looks at the man and with a scoff replies, " I only fight if its necessary or its work that has to be done and im not a cheap hire, so please leave me be." Tychon takes another deep swig from the bottle while the man keeps talking in a rushed tone. "First off my name is Tavi and a local mercenary group has my daughter and they wont give her back unless i pay a ransom. I dont have anywhere near the amount they want but if you go and get her back for me ill pay your way to get away from this hellhole!"He spits out with a rushed assertiveness."Well i dont know im starting to like this place it feels kinda like home." Tychon snickers "But i do need a way off this rock to get to where i need to be so i guess ill do it. Tell me all that you know of what has happened so far."
By the time the old man finishes his story the bottle of Amasec is on its last leg and Tychon tips the bottle to finish it. He tells Tavi to get him a room for the night and he'll start the search the next day and they will meet back in this bar three days later and that if everything goes as planned he would have Tavi's daughter. The next day Tychon sets off to gather information about these mecenaries who have Tavi's daughter. He walks around the port and asks a few locals and gets no information except for all the people he had asked acted skiddish and frightful when he had brought up any mention of the mercenaries. To him this was a bad sign nobody had said even one bad thing about them or given any information means that they have eyes and ears everywhere and have major influence over the town.
He mutters to himself that it make take more than three days without loose lipped people around. He turns into an alleyway between two buildings he makes it about halfway to the other side when he hears the footsteps of a person following him and at the same time another two people wearing all black block the exit facing him with what looked like truncheons. Slowly stopping he turns to the person following him he speaks with an assertive voice "Do we have a problem gentlemen" Tychon voices loudly. Tychon calmly observes his situation while waiting on the masked man to speak. The masked guy in front of him is about seven feet away and the other two are about twenty feet thinking to himself that these men underestimate what i can do if they try anything then the guy spoke "Do not get involved in affairs that your not a part of." The masked man said in a monotone voice.
"Well i dont take kindly to threats now if you value your life you will leave now." he declares. The masked guy reaches for the shotgun on his side but he was nowhere near as quick as tychon. Without a moments hesitation Tychon's shoulder mounted handcannon whirs to life and rings loudly firing two rounds down the alleyway both ring true and catch both people blocking the exit. He reaches for the sword at his side unsheathing the blade in the blink of an eye the masked guy stood no chance tychon lunges forward with a vicious strike at the legs that connects and slices through the mans left leg with ease. Tychon raises the sword with ease and stabs the the man through the abdomen and pushes him against the wall he says with a calm tone "answer my questions and i'll stop here." the man bites his tongue and shakes his head declining that he will answer any questions "alright then im sorry" the handcannon spins aiming at the guys head and rings out loudly.
Grabbing the mans shotgun from his shoulder Tychon dislodges his sword from the mans abdomen while he slides to the ground. Wiping the blood from his face he walks towards the two guys that were blocking the exit. Before he gets close he notices that one is still alive trying to crawl away when he reaches them he rolls the one still moving over. Getting into his face he says one word "Talk". This guy wasn't like the guy before he was a coward he spilled his guts of everything that he knew in desperation of his own life knowing that Tychon would take no less. After getting the information that he wanted Tychon rolls the other guy over looking at the damage this one took a round right to the eye instant death. He stands up and tells the guy still alive " I wont kill you in return if you survive tell don't tell them anything or i will come for you!"
Tychon walks off now having a sense of direction he walks to the other side of the town to the building the wounded man had said they were keeping her he walks around the house looking at entrance and exit points. Peeping ingto the windows he didnt see anybody in the rooms that he could look into. Stepping back up to the front door he knocks two times he waits for a minute or two without answer and tries the handle the door opens with a long screetch until it stops the house had looked like it had been abandoned for a while with a layer of dust on everything that he could see.
The Missing Mentor
Time -- Approximately 6 months after The Redeemer incident
Place – Port Winnower on the moon Tanzumar
For as long as Remi had been inducted into the Adeptus Mechanicus, he has had a mentor, the man that had saved him from the toils of being a lowly ship-hand into being the proud Explorator that he has become, a man by the name of Explorator Roland Serkov. The two had always kept in touch with one another up until that is, a few months before the crew of The Redeemer came under the attack of the cultist. The last of the transmissions came from Port Winnower and as luck would have it Octavious was making port there.
Upon docking at the port Remi asked Octavious for permission to carry out a search to find his friends whereabouts.
“Octavious, as you know I have a good friend and mentor that went missing after I received a last message from this port. I was hoping that you would allow me to search around for any information that the regulars here might have.” Remi says not really caring what the answer was he was already going to do it regardless.
“Well Remi, I don’t think I see a reason why you couldn’t do that. Just check back in with me before we leave this port.” States The Rogue Trader as the two make their way down from the ship.
Nodding in thanks Remi sets off towards the market place to find some form of information broker his massive frame moving through the crowd of people without much trouble, most saw the huge tech-priest and decided it best to move out of his way. With his servo-skull perched on his broad shoulder he scanned the market for anyone that fit the typical seedy information broker look but noticed as he finally took a moment to look around that this port was one that was well passed its heydays and one corrupted by illegal or under the counter deals they all looked like they could be the broker he was searching for.
“What business could Octavious have in a place like this much less Master Serkov?” Remi mumbled to himself.
Pushing those unneeded thoughts out of his brain Remi decides instead to find some of his fellow tech-priest for if there was any in this slum port that had seen or had contact with his friend it would be them. As he was making his way around the place he spotted his Rogue Trader with Tychon and a handful of others that he didn’t recognize by name but knew by their demeanor and dress that they were other rogue traders and their respective right hand men. Seeing that Octavious had already started his business it made Remi hasten his pace knowing that a week my not be enough time to track a well over 8 month old trail.
After four days time Remi finally stumbled across a tech-priest by the name of Cambrios that said he had heard of Serkov and remembered that he had been trying to gather a small group of other Explorators and Tech-priest to search for an ancient crash site on a world a few systems farther out that his Rogue Trader had no interest in searching for.
“So indeed I have heard of the man. Though the last I heard he was able to assemble a crew of our brothers and make way. There was talk though that the vessel made it no farther than the jungle world that you see there,” Cambrios says pointing through one of the large windows that is displaying a wild looking planet of deep greens and blues.
“And by that I take it you mean that they crashed there for some reason. Did no one go check to see if the crew had survived? They were our brothers in worship and knowledge!” Remi could see that Cambrios cared not for the lives of those few that had gone with Serkov.
“Remi, it seems this man is very important to you and I understand your questioning our actions because of that, but we here care not for those we don’t know and care very little for those we do. We care for ourselves and the aching machine spirits around us in this foul port, it is all we can do to please the Omnissiah in this corner of the galaxy.” Cambrios stated with no emotion at the state in which his life had come to take.
After the conversation Remi decided that it was imperative that he go to see if the reports were right about the crashing of the ship himself. He heads immediately back to The Last Testament to find Octavious to let him know that he was going to be going and a few of his tech-priest underlings to head out on the expedition with him. Finding Octavious in his quarters smelling of the harsh smokes that he so loved and alcohol Remi asked him for the favor.
“I am here to request a few men to accompany me down to Hycanth, Octavious. Also I will need time to investigate the planet for wreckage that my mentor Explorator Serkov was supposedly on. What do you say?”
Octavious knowing that this was just a formality and a show of respect for himself from his Explorator answers Remi with out much thought. “Of course Remi. Though I must admit we do not have a lot of men to spare I will let you take with you a hand full of people that you see fit to help out on the expedition. We have a job that is looking like it will take us about three months to finish and we will meet you back here hopefully with a load of money and no bad news about yourself. Good luck my friend.”
Two days later with seven others with him including three other tech-priest with sensory augmentations to help track and four men from the armed force that Tychon personally recommended they set out on one of the fighter class personnel carriers that The Last Testament had aboard her. After a two day fly over scouring the surface for signs of the crash site Remi and his crew of Tech-Priest underlings decided on a place that they had seen new foliage along side some older dying plants that seemed to have burn marks peppering them.
Having landed in somewhat of a clearing at about a two days march from the site according to the calculations the tech-priests came up with they began their march, but that two days march turned into a near week and a half struggle through the dense, beast and insect packed jungle. During the first trying days the group ways taken off guard by a group of attacking leopard like creatures that were fairly easily dealt with but not before they felled one of the tech-priest crew. After the encounter the group was more vigil and though they were ambushed again by some other wild creatures they took no casualties.
As they neared the crash site Remi began to feel machine spirits within the area but the spirits had a wild sense about them that he thought strange. Along with those Remi felt something that was almost familiar in the area but he couldn’t quite place what it was. Confirming his findings with the other two tech-priests, he turns to address the team as a whole.
“We seem to be nearing the crash site I am sensing odd things about in the jungle surrounding us. There a machine spirits out there that are wild, animal like things that I have never encountered. Be wary friends for I have…” As Remi was finishing up the short speech he heard a crashing in the jungle to his left and turned in time to see one of the large cat creatures leap out at him mouth wide with metallic teeth that were rushing towards his throat. Reacting quicker than his bulk would seem to allow Remi thumbs on his power axe into life as his mechadendrites crash into the under belly of the creature sending it over his shoulder as he spins and smashes the axe home into the creatures back with less of a squishy thud than what was expected. Feeling not an animal die in front of him but a machine spirit flicker and go out confirmed what Remi had expected, beast servitors.
After having his fellow tech-priest to dissect the creature while he and his armed guard kept watch. He took a look at the work done and its look was very much like some work he had seen before and it dawned on him that it was the meticulous work done by his mentor Serkov!
“But how could this be? There isn’t any technology that I know of that allows for this.” Remi pondered out loud. Looking at the other tech-priest with him he can see the bewilderment in their eyes as well. Then one of the guardsmen said plainly.
“Animals have brains too right? Why wouldn’t the tech we use for regular servitors work?”
“Well,” Remi stated. “yes they do have brains and a nervous system but we do not fully understand the brain of the animals and what exactly we need to tap into to have them do the things we need or want them to do.”
Signaling the men forward to the crash site Remi stepped into position and saw the ship was in a somewhat well kempt clearing but noticed little to no movement and no sign of his friend. Waving the men on they closed in on the ship and heard the sounds of the old Explorator working before they saw him.
Rounding the corner into the hull into the make shift lab Remi called out to his long time friend but something seemed wrong with him.
“Explorator Serkov! I have come to get you off this retched planet. To save you like you once saved me!”
“Ah..a.a..ah is that you Re..re..mi,” the old man said as he turned to face Remi and his crew. Remi could see the full extent the crash and time alone with out repairs had done the tech-priest. A slow but constant tick in the mans neck, a kind of side to side motion broken up as if it was on a broken gear box, was apparent along with the terrible sounds of grinding gears and exhaust relieves that bellowed out black smoke. It seemed that he only retained use of one of his mechadendrites, which was still toiling away at some creature that was now behind him.
“I ha..ha…had hoped that you would f.f…find me,” Serkov stated. “If nothing..ing..ing else than to see what I ha..have..ve..ve accomplished.” Spreading his arm wide slowly indicating the blue prints and massive piles of notes on behavior and anatomy of the local wildlife.
“It would seem we have much to discuss old friend but let us gather your things here and head back to port to get you some much needed repairs and maintenance. We can talk there.” Remi stated while still looking over the mess of a man before him.
Without much resistance the team was able to gather all the things that Serkov asked for that where essential for his work to continue. The way back to the fighter ship went easier this time with the group of beast servitors there to fend off any attack that would come from the lesser biological wildlife. Thus shortening the trip to a matter of five days.
Once back to the port Remi began doing repair work himself on his old friend thanking the Omnissiah for the knowledge to repay an old debt. When he was not working on his friend he was pouring over the notes and schematics that Serkov had made during his stay on the planet. What he found astounded him in the short eight months was unbelievable. When he finished the repairs, which took a full two and a half weeks, Remi asked Serkov to tell him why and more importantly how he was able to come up with this tech without any proper equipment.
Remi came to find it was through necessity that he came to do this research. He was heavily damaged and had no protection from the hostile environment around him. He thought it best to find and wrangle a large animal to keep the area clear from other predators but had not the strength or ability to train a wild beast. He decided instead to trap and study one, thinking that like humans they have a brain, a brain that should be able to be controlled by a computer and be made into a type of combat servitor. And thusly did this with many of the local animals finding that most could be controlled if studied thoroughly.
In the remaining months, while waiting on Octavious’ return, Remi was able to learn to do it himself from Serkov. Upon the return of The Last Testament Remi asked for permission to bring Serkov aboard for long enough to get him to a proper forge world where his services could be used. Octavious complied with the wishes simply stating that he was glad to see Remi in one piece still. When the two old friends parted Remi felt he owed the man no more but would always be there for him if needed and he knew that he could count on him as well.
whoops, didnt post my story here :/
Varenus let the bow slide across the strings drawing out the last note longer than any normal person would. The song was all too familiar to his fingers and he felt as if it needed a little change.
“You always play that song every time we’re heading out. I know you know other ones… If you didn’t change it up every time I’d probably be crazy by now!”
Varenus looked over at his son taking the violin off his shoulder and pointed the bow at him. “If a man cannot hold fast to a simple tradition than more difficult commitments are out of reach!”
Artemis rolled his eyes jokingly, “Is that the reason you made me start playing the flute, to learn how to commit myself?”
Varenus laughed heartily. “Absolutely not! I needed a flute to help compliment me while I’m playing! Oh, but of course it would serve well as a lesson of commitment now that you mention it!”
“Father… did you also get into the wine? I thought it was for after the business deals were completed? What if there is a… situation. I don’t want you to be…”
“Absolutely not! I would never *hic* ……………. I will be fine by the time we reach the destination! It is a happy day after all! M.A.C.E. is finally going to concede to us and let our corporation purchase their company! I tell you son, nothing is sweeter than this moment. When I as your age the tables were turned. But now…. HA! I just cannot wait to meet with that smug vermin Daleran Balshire! He always thinks he’s one step ahead when in reality he’s just trailing behind us. So far behind that he can’t even catch a glimpse of our ASS!”
Artemis shook his head smiling. “I hope you’ll be sober when we get there.”
Artemis pulled the modified militant car into the usual garage. He eyed the scum of the streets distastefully as the vehicle passed into the large warehouse. His father had quieted down significantly. Artemis knew that his father was not going to be the drunken buffoon he was playing earlier. This man was no doubt the most scrupulous business man on the planet and maybe the sector. Artemis grinned to himself as he parked in their spot preparing for what was to come. His dad had been leading the corporation since his early 20’s and hadn’t wasted a single year on recovering the status of the corporation. Instead he had expanded it. Now they were about to buy out their longtime rivals, a competition that had lasted more generations than he knew!
The sound of someone clearing their throat suddenly broke Artemis’s concentration and he fumbled to take the keys out of the ignition and opened his door moving to the passenger side to let his father out. Appearances were everything when it comes to business deals. He opened up the passenger door his father tapping away at his data slate. Without looking away he stepped out of the vehicle and began walking. Artemis closed the door and began following close behind keeping his eyes peeled for any distasteful persons.
“We have another appointment with a man named Octavius after our deal with the Balshires. I want to make this first deal fast so that we do not make him wait. It could be an opportunity that expands our corporation far more than buying out some dying rival. Look sharp and make sure we keep to the schedule. I don’t want our small business with the Balshires taking up too much time. I actually scheduled this meeting with them in order to coordinate with this man’s available time. He is the real reason we are here.”
Artemis pulled out his data slate as the information was transferred. He kept one eye on his surroundings and used his other to read his father’s brief on their schedule. He quickly moved ahead of his father opening the door to the streets as he read the information.
"He was just boasting about this being a sweet day because of the Balshires conceding to us. What does he mean that this other deal is why we're here. I wasn't even aware of it till now." Artemis thought to himself.
Octavius Umber. He was captain of a ship known as “The Last Testament.” The ship was a trader ship that visited various planets and was in need of a man well versed in coin and commerce. Artemis swelled with pride as he read over the data. He knew his father was going to send him as a representative on the ship for the Claris Corporation. He could finally prove to him all he had learned. This was going to be his chance to show that he was capable of leading the Claris Corporation towards the future!
Before he knew it, Varenus gave the halt sign. Artemis almost ran into his father stopping right before smacking into the family armor he donned.
“This is where you stop for now. Wait outside while I go inside and negotiate the takeover of M.A.C.E.”
Artemis looked at the building they had stopped in front of. It didn’t look rundown like the most of the other buildings within the district, but something about it made him feel nervous. Disregarding he was about to let the president of the Claris Corporation walk into a building by himself, he did not trust the sense of false security his eyes received when they looked upon it.
“Fa… Sir, I cannot allow you to waltz into such a place by yourself. To do so would be a shame to the company and my name. Please, let me make sure it is safe before you enter. I promise to not impede the upcoming deal while insuring your safety.”
Varenus laughed placing his hand on Artemis’s shoulders. “I told you, this was simply a meeting of convenience. I don’t want to make our real client wait. I appreciate your enthusiasm, but this will not take long, and I would prefer to keep it that way.”
Varenus winked at his son as he made his way to the entrance of the building. The door closed resoundingly allowing Artemis to sigh heavily. He then pulled out his data slate looking over the data on Octavius more closely. What about this meeting with him was more important than crushing their rivals? As he looked at the files in more detail he found that “The Last Testament” was in fact a failing vessel. Some of the crew were from a vessel known as “The Redeemer,” a ship that was lost to Daemons. Their latest venture had ended quite gruesomely with little profit and had given this man, Octavius a certain reputation. His father would see gain from this? Artemis poured over the information again and could not see anything worth what would eventually be considered a “profit.”
“He expects me to tag along on this ship? This vessel with no real captain, no real profit margin, no… nothing!”
Artemis’s childish outburst was cut short by the sounds of heavy gunfire. He could hear the familiar salvos from his father’s inferno pistol followed by the subsequent screams of the ones too unfortunate to be on the receiving end. He drew his sword and whipped out his own pistol firing two shots to demolish the door. A sudden crashing noise stopped him from entering the building. He turned around and saw the familiar armor fall towards the ground landing as if the wearer had purposely jumped. Varenus turned around looking at Artemis angrily.
“What are you doing boy? I told you this was only for convenience! If we waste our time here we will be late for our appointment, MOVE!”
Artemis paused for merely a second before his father’s words sunk in. The armor had already taken off running to the east. Artemis cursed his hesitation and tore off after him. The angry screams of the Balshire scum could be heard in the distance and he wanted nothing more than to turn around and kill them all, but when the president gives you and order, you don’t have options. You have a duty. He could see the silver and blue armor in the crowd getting closer, his feet carrying him as fast as he could. An object came flying at his head. He moved to dodge it, but recognition kicked in before his reaction could. Reaching out he grasped the familiar flask. He smiled uncorking the container taking a deep draught.
“Garancha…. But it has a hint of another grape.” He yelled out.
The armor stopped and turned around. Varenus just smiled at him. “Tempranillo. I wouldn’t normally mix the two, but your grandfather has the strangest tastes.” Varenus looked around the crow behind them and then pulled out his data slate taking the flask from his son taking a long drink from its depths.
“I don’t think we have any followers… not that they would want to do any following.”
“Melt some Balshire scum with your pistol?” Artemis chuckled.
“Almost six with one shot! The first lost his eye, the next guy felt his throat burn, the third watched his chest catch fire…”
Artemis interrupted his father’s tall tale, “Did they ambush you? I thought they were in debt and couldn’t afford anything BUT being bought out by us.”
Varenus chuckled, “Well I was just about to hand over the payment and sign the papers completing the deal when one of their guards looked out the window and asked ‘why I brought a puppy with me.’ You know me. He was the one that lost the eye from the beginning of the shot.”
“I can’t believe you would wipe away a deal that would end our rivalry just because someone called me a name. You have to learn to ignore such petty spit.”
Varenus put his hand on his son’s shoulders looking him straight in the eye. “We were purchasing them. Their lives were ours. If they were not ready to show respect than I have no use for them. You are no whimpering mutt Artemis. The Cinsaults are proud Lions, and you are no longer a cub. You have grown and learned well. Far superior to me when I took control of the company ages ago. Therefore I have no problem entrusting its future to you while I explore… other opportunities.”
Artemis stared at his father, more in shock than anything else. “What do you mean?!”
Varenus shook his head, “Come on now Artemis, as the new Vice President of this company you are going to have to learn to react quicker than that. This man, Octavius Umber, I like his style. You may not be able to see it now, but as a man who came back from nothing, I can tell you that I see opportunity. I will make the Claris Corporation into the largest most powerful business in the sector, but to do that we need to extend our reach far beyond this planet and the next. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this and I know that I can entrust you with my duties while I am on leave. Take care of your mother. She knows your father is a business man first, but that will not make it easier on her. I am sorry to put all of this on you, but you are a Cinsault and I know that you are ready for the task. However, I will ask again. Will you, Artemis Cinsault, Vice President of Claris Corporation assume my duties while I pursue other off world ventures?”
Artemis cleared his throat and without hesitating responded, “Yes sir! On my name and honor I will continue to make this company thrive and assist you in your endeavors as you expand the corporation. And I ask you, will you never stop in expanding our company, making sure that we are the most powerful?”
Varenus raised his flask towards his son. “On my name and honor I shall.”
“Then I leave it to you. Do your best.”
“Then I leave it to you. Do your best.”
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