The Paradox Hammer

The Thieving Merchant

///Access File: 10-25-802M.41///

Ship’s Log of the Rogue Trader Ship Hammer
Lord Captain Viktor Khal, Commanding

The Thieving Merchant

I would love to be able to eat my dinner. Simmered chicken in a glazed amsec sauce with buttered pecans. Thoroughly scanned for warp activity and personally inspected by myself and Bob for tentacles or the undead. A divine meal. It’s a shame no one would let me enjoy it.

First I received word from our Enginseer, er…rather our Engineer that the Engines were acting rather temperamental. He was investigating but needed some more ratings to do a through job of it. I agreed, he got to it. I put my napkin in my lap and the vox beeps before I can reach for the salad fork. Damnit…

The doctor is reporting on Gaan’s condition. Apparently he’s becoming more social. Well that’s to be expected as I have not cut off any of his toes yet. I order the current precautions be maintained but that any further developments be reported immediately. I again reach for my fork. The vox beeps….Damnit again…

Pertwee has found tracking devices all over the ship. Odd little things but no indication of their origin. I ordered him to take as many men as he needed to scour the ships and secure the devices. As we weren’t moving there was no point in worrying about it till after dinner. This time I managed to snatch my fork with an alacrity that would make Vindex arch an eyebrow…Sneaky bastard probably hiding in my closet waiting to steal my hat at this very moment.

I got the first succulent piece to my lips when there was a knock at the door. Bleeding Gods of the Void! Really!?!

Ah well…this is what I get for wearing the fancy hat…

Bob let Kalm in who informed me that not only was he/she/it adopting the pick thief that tried to lift Ignatio’s bolter but also that half the Kroot were pregnant and fixing to give birth. And here I was thinking they laid eggs…I shall have to inquire with the doctor about this, if only to ensure there are no other physiological surprises in my future. The more I’m around Kalm the more I start to wonder if it might be female. It does seem rather maternal at times. Perhaps I’ll ask the doctor about that one as well.

Kalm had already arraigned housing for the expectant mothers, but I made sure they had access to one the House’s accounts to cover expenses. It seems we are to stay at Port Wander for a while longer. The Arbites are going to love this.

After my interview with Kalm was concluded the glaze over my chicken had cooled into an impenetrable shell forever sealing me out of the culinary delights I was so looking forward to. I silently cursed my fate and made myself a sandwich.

The initial idea was the Pertwee and some of the engineers would take work on some tramp freighters and hide the trackers to lead our erstwhile pursuer astray. Unfortunately the men were arrested on charges of piracy immediately after completing the work. It seemed another lovely conversation with the local Arbite commander was in store for me.

I immediately began formulating a vague plan along the lines if shooting a hole in the hull of Port Wander and extracting my people by shuttle. However, once I discussed the matter with my Command Crew, I was shown the flaws in my plan. Their wiser heads suggested a diplomatic solution. As I was going to have dealings here this seemed to me a stroke of genius. Also I can wear my fancy hat. We sent out the invitation for a fine dinner, which she accepted, surprisingly. Rojer handed me a bag, in case more…intimate negotiations are needed. Cheeky lad. Reminds me of his mother.

The dinner went better than I expected. The Arbitor General was apparently under the impression that I was some sort of Pirate. Someone should really educate the masses on the difference between a Privateer and a pirate. Still an arrangement was made. In exchange for informing her of my comings and goings she would pass on what relevant info she had and not harass me as much. Over all a satisfying result.

Now that my crew was back on board all there was to do was to await my commando’s conclusion of the births… or hatchings… or whatever. I secured the freshest War Penguin flanks I could find. Often laughed at, the Blood Penguin is an artic creature that I encountered at the Xeno Circuses of Grave. They resemble a cross between a turkey and a panda save with 3 inch retractible teeth and barbed wings. They look unsightly and docile, even cute until they smell blood, (which they can detect from miles away, hince the name) at which point an awful feeding frenzy ensues that’s capible of clearing several acres of carbon based lifeforms, the blood penguins included. I think the Kroot will appreciate such a delicacy after their labors.

It didn’t take long for the majority of the hatching… or whatever to be done and we were free to leave. We resumed the chase for my ancestor’s legacy traveling to a system with a name so monumentally dull I can’t bring it to mind, and wouldn’t care if I could. The two objects of interest were the massive debris of a space battle of monumental proportions and an automated homing beacon. The beacon itself was rather odd, the simple gothic message was off in it’s pronunciation, which put us all on edge. I stationed the Anvil outside the debris field and took the Hammer in to investigate.

What we found was startling to say the least. A disabled Tau Vessel, which was poised in a rather bait-like fashion. Ignatio, being the opposite of stupid as is his tendency, spotted the Eldar Corsairs waiting to pounce on us.

I hesitate to call what occurred a battle. While my ship and crews preformed flawlessly and are a credit to our dynasty, most of the damage to the Eldar was inflicted by the Eldar. Perhaps these represented what the Pirate Queen does with the mental deficients of the Eldar race? Suffice to say, I found myself with a whole Eldar Corsair and the parts of another to deliver to the Ordo Xenos, per my letter of Marque.

What we found on the Tau Transport the single most astonishing thing I have come across in my rather storied career as a Voids man. Imperial… Tau… Missionaries. I’m going to repeat that for those of you who upon reading these words, suffered a seizure. The craft was filled with Tau, who not only believed, with a faith that rivaled any priest I’ve met, in the God Emperor of Mankind, but were on their way to convert their brethren who had a station in this part of space. How the warp the Tau got here at all is a question subsumed by the brain numbing implications of these Xeno’s existence. They requested that we escort them to their kind’s station. To be entirely frank I agreed just to see what would happen.

The non-Imperial Tau were please to recover their lost companions, but I doubt that will last. The self-righteous are insufferable no matter what language they speak or the color of their blood. I predict a religious war will break out in the station within the next few solar cycles. In the mean time, the station was eager to work out a trade agreement, to supply their needs. As my warrant provides me with the legal authority to do just that, I entered into negotiations with the head scientist, or skull tinker, as he referred to himself. I must admit it felt good to match wits in a mercantile endeavor. We agreed upon a mutually beneficial arrangement, more beneficial to me but with him leaving with the impression that the reverse was true, the sign of a good deal. The Cranial Experimenter or whatever his title decided to throw a wrench in what was a perfectly good arrangement by asking if I could procure a warp drive. I hate to leave a customer with a bad trade experience, but providing a Xeno with Imperial Technology of that magnitude goes even beyond my sense of propriety. I did the only thing a good merchant can do when faced with that kind of situation. I stalled. It might be possible for the right price, but it would be difficult as the Mechanicus controls such things, I told him. I suppose I could procure a transport drive and simply not supply the Geller field, but I hesitate to cut off a steady flow of profit for a quick throne, well giant pile of thrones anyway.

Ah well, this is what I get for wearing the fancy hat…I think I’ll go make myself a sandwich.

Chains of the Pirate Queen
///Access File: 10-15-802M.41///

///Access File: 10-15-802M.41///

Ship’s Log of the Rogue Trader Ship Hammer
Lord Captain Viktor Khal, Commanding

Chains of the Pirate Queen

We put into Port Wander for repairs to the Anvil, which proved to be more costly than I had anticipated. My Dynasty is not as wealthy as some due to my father’s actions but I do manage a steady stream of income over and above my expenses. I find in this case the reverse has become true, or so my House Factors tell me. I will have to find additional income sources soon lest War bleed my family dry. I thought to add a Calculance Array to my holdings to aid in this goal, but to add insult to injury I was outbid by an agent from House Winterscale at the 11th Hour. Fine fellow, Captain Winterscale, but his agents are of the “by any means” sort. I’d respect that if “any means” didn’t mean me.

Not long after we returned from my fruitless excursion to the auction house, I received a message from Bob, the message is as follows:

roguerio stole something called the paradox engine it is difficult to explain to a layman but it is very dangerous in the wrong hands misuse could create singularities or worse your people consider us heretics because you consider everyone heretics an inquisitor who searches anyone will eventually find something that he or she finds heretical your society is an enemy of progress physicians do not normally carry weapons but some may have adapted to your violent society our technology is often implanted into out own bodies very small and hard to detect with your sensors those who are augmented also undergo a self destruct sequence to make sure our tech does no fall into the possession of savages no offense intended

Paradox Engine, eh? When I get some time I shall have to have the Hammer’s cogitor’s search for any record of such a thing in the ship’s archives. Perhaps one of my ancestor’s notated something about it’s existence. I have informed the command crew to be aware of any mention of this device at our weekly debriefing. Rojer who is usually a prompt lad was no where to be seen. Kataline informed me over the Vox that the boy had gone into the Port Wander and had dismissed his escort, who had just returned to the Anvil.

After dressing down the wayward Arms-woman, I learned that Rojer had gone to a seedy bar called the Hull Breach or the Bulkhead or some such thing. Ignatio was unworried, thinking the lad was lonely and going to have his deck swabbed but I knew better. I’d not be surprised to find my son in a House of Ill-Repute but it’d damn well be a respectable House of Ill-Repute. The boy’s a Khal after all, he can afford damn near any fetish his loins desire. No this smacked of a young lord trying to impress his father. I should know, I tried often enough with mine. I immediately issued orders to the command crew to track the boy to this bar. Ignatio wisely pointed out that we’d make a bit of a scene, so we sent Kalm ahead to scout the location. He/she/it reported drunken Kroot Mercs, but no Rojer. Damn the boy! Where was he! After some Kroot negotiations, Kalm returned for some money with which to enlist the Kroot to our cause. Secrecy be damned at this point we began to follow Him/Her/It to the bar.

The Kroot was honking something when Ignatio cried out and hauled a squirming ruffian into the air. The boy thought to steal my first officer’s bolter. He’d have had better luck going for Jaks Eye. Upon examining the boy’s wrist, we discovered something that made my blood run cold. A crudely drawn copy of a marking I was painfully familiar with from my father’s intelligence briefings. The Cabal of the Chain! Would they never leave my family in peace!? I knew intellectually that they must still be out there somewhere, but my joy at the resurrection of my dynasty blinded me to the possibility that they might still be a threat. Rojer’s disappearance suddenly took on ominous tones. We confirmed with the Barkeep that Rojer had left with Chainers and the boy told us of their hide out, he apparently has some sort of fascination with the gang or more likely with the power they represent. Jak paid the barkeep to look after the lad while we hurried after Rojer. How could he have not known about the Cabal? Surely we briefed him? Ignatio will see to it once we’re safe back aboard the Hammer, I’ll make sure of that.

We didn’t get more than a few feet when Rojer’s voice came across the micro-bead. He said he was tracking the drug that the Physician had used to kill himself and that he had a meet with the dealer. Before I could tell him in no uncertain terms to get his acned ass back aboard the Anvil another voice took the wind from my chest. The Cabal had my son, my heir and they would return him for a 100,000 thrones. The very idea was laughable. They had to know who I was. Do they have such a low estimation of my intelligence to think I’d not recognize the trap for what it was? Once my boy was safe I intended to make an example of these dogs.

Kalm suggested he take the boy and infiltrate the Cabal’s hide out as that was the likeliest place to hold Rojer, while the rest of us make a distraction at the meet. Distractions I can do. Between Ignatio, Jaks and myself we planned to fill the market with crewmen and send an anonymous tip to the Arbites about a drug deal, in the hopes that the confusion of a raid would give us the advantage.

When the stated time arrived, our distraction worked perfectly but the Cabal had already prepared for our plans. They lead me by vox to an apartment complex far from the initial meeting place. A woman waited for me, presumably to make the exchange, but the sniper they had planted was a failure at his job. I dodged the round with ease and turned the girls head into a bowling ball with my powerfist. At this point Jaks and Ignatio caught up to my position and we set out to make the sniper very sorry his parents didn’t die in an Exterminatus.

The fabulous auspex in my Powerfist identified the bastard’s weapon with ease and Jaks and I cornered him before he knew just how outclassed he was. He talked, revealing the Pirate Queen Bodica wanted my son and I alive, before Ignatio smeared his brains all over my power armor. He could have let me drop the fool first. Bloody impatient man. He is so cleaning my Armor when we get back to the ship.

As we hurried to Kalm’s location, I rallied all our men and Kroot in the area and converged on the Cabal’s base. The attack was almost over by the time I arrived as most of the Chainers were quickly dispatched by my enraged crew. Apparently they’re fond of their dynasty’s heir. I sometimes am stuck with the loyalty my family can inspire. It’s touching really, to know that your men will gleefully rip to shreds any who offend your honor. I shall have to give the lads an extra ration of rotgut once we’re under way in gratitude. We chased the architect of this insult to a shuttle airlock the Cabal used to smuggle slaves, but could not stop the shuttle from leaving. Thankfully the two other shuttles I’d stationed outside the airlock could. When Kataline returned the now heartless (literally) body of the Eldar, with a look of supreme satisfaction. Hell, even the Kroot looked happy, but it’s hard to tell.

We found Rojer in one of the Cryo-tubes, safe and sound if a little frosted. I’ve ordered Ignatio to brief him on everything we know about the Chainers once the boy comes to and he’s finished with my armor. We added the captured Eldar shuttle to our hanger and Jak and Ignatio has some shiny new toys to play with. So despite the ass clinching terror of nearly losing the future of my house…again, things have turned out well. Ah, it seems my dinner has arrived.

///End Log Entry\\\

Breaking the News

Kalm’s lengthy gait down the corridor was accompanied by the frantic footfalls of a creature much smaller. The young street urchin had become more or less attached to the alien since the incident at the station. With the gang destroyed and no ties to the xenophobic teachings of the Empire, he evidently saw no problem with it.

The lavish portal to the Captain’s private quarters always gave Kalm a bit of pause, certainly the Khal thought very much of himself and his family. She rapped her fist against the door, insuring not to damage the intricate gold and silver reliefs. A moment passed in silence before a small window opened on the left wall. The teetering servo-skull affectionately named “Bob” floated out and regarded her with technological detachment. Seeing Kalm was nothing new, but the sight of the boy elicited several curious beeps and boops. Bob moved in for a closer look, only to be halted by a protective snarl. As if tipping it’s nose up in disgust, the skull made a sound that could only be construed as a huff and disappeared back into the hole. The large door creaked open seconds later..

Kalm used a gentle shove to prod the child inside. His eyes sparkled as the Khal’s vast collection of weapons, trinkets, and treasures came into view. The captain was sitting at his table, dining on a meal fit for a planetary governor. He wiped his mouth on a napkin embroidered with the family crest (surprisingly not a small duplicate of his Warrant) and cocked an eyebrow “Oi…what’s with the brat? I thought we were done with him.”

“Apologies. I have…become attached,” Kalm responded with deliberate intonation (her Gothic was improving). “He will join the tribe.”

Khal practically spit his thrice distilled amesec all over the varnished table top. “pffft…he…what?!”

Kalm half expected this, having received a similar reaction from her tribal council. Due to the complex and demanding nature of the role performed, female Shapers are not permitted to bare children. In fact, over time they lose the biological capability altogether. It was for this reason Shapers are allowed (often encouraged) to adopt. This is primarily accomplished by taking in the child of a fallen Kroot warrior, but as Kalm was quick to point out, there is no law against adopting a foreign species. Her reasoning was impulsive and selfish, but she didn’t care. However, explaining the customs of her people to the Captain wasn’t something she particularly wanted to do.

She stated her intent as bluntly as possible. “I will raise the small one. He will learn our ways. No harm will come to him while I draw breath.”

He rubbed his chin thoughtfully and pushed the brim of his hat up, eyeing the runt that was undoubtedly trying to steal some of his Ostgaz Glimer Shards at this moment. “I don’t normally…more like _ever_…allow children to run around my star ship. Much less with a vicious, blood-thirsty alien, no offense.”

“A compliment”, she snarled.

Khal took off his hat and ran a hand through his hair. “Fine, just don’t come crying to me if he falls into some giant gears or gets his face melted off by a steam jet..” He took a sip of his drink. “…or gets butchered in a boarding action..” Another sip. “….or gets possessed by a daemon.”

Kalm raised a hand. “Understood.”

“So, any other pressing business…or can I get back to my meal? This…roasted bird-thing isn’t going to eat itself. I think..” He warrily jabbed it with a knife almost as if he doubted it.

“Er…yes. There is.”

This might have been the first time Khal had seen Kalm hesitate, as he put his drink down to avoid another potential choking comment. “Go on…”


///Access File: 10-11-802M.41///

Ship’s Log of the Rogue Trader Ship Hammer
Lord Captain Viktor Khal, Commanding


Our landing on the planet was uneventful despite repeated summons by the local customs officials for a meeting, face to face of course. One would think the Tyranids would be a higher concern that collecting shipping tithes, but the Administratum being the machine it is likely sent the same messages to the Hive Ships. Regardless, I planned on dealing with it once I was done dirt-side, and making a fast burn to the warp, hopefully loaded with treasure.

When we landed on the planet, it did not take us long to discover that the ‘Nids had landed here as well. We found the corpse of a small one in the jaws of a local predator, which Trejec took great pleasure in killing. It was apparently a career high form him which is fortunate since he was eaten a few minutes later, but I get ahead of myself. We proceeded with the appropriate paranoia. Kalm scouted ahead past a very suspicious ravine to the entrance of my distinguished ancestor’s presumed tomb. He found several Tyranid skulls on a pole in front of the cave, indicating someone else was around. My pony tail was tingling less with the pleasant sensation of excitement and more with the uncomfortable buzz of paranoia at this point.

We crossed the ravine at which point something quite literally out of the bowels of the warp ate Trejec. We scrambled to the rocks but my new power armor prevented me from my nominal feats of flight. Two brave Kroot stood by me as we faced the hell beast, some sort of Tyranid hybrid between an Earth Worm and a Turd with teeth. My other companions had sped up the cliff face with such alacrity that they did not notice my plight. I know they turned to face the creature after realizing their Captain’s plight but I would be at a loss to relate their actions from my unfortunate position. I took a couple of shots at the abomination before I saw Kalm descend like the bird of prey he/she/it so resembles and liquefy the things innards.

After the creature gurgled it’s last, my intrepid crew and I proceeded into the cave. There were signs of habitation but no one was around. As we explored we found old Kroot relics, a fact that no doubt was of interest to Kalm and his/her/its Tribe. I must admit that I was expecting something a bit grander from my ancestor’s tomb than rusted Kroot Rifles. Our explorations were soon cut short by the return of the squatter. Kalm hurried to investigate, but I was too hurried to try to get some information from the fellow.

The Kroot responded to my statement with an alacrity that cost one of them his/her/its life. I thought to at least have words with the fellow before the shooting began, but he chose to chunk a spear first. The Kroot may be Xenos, but while the serve my dynasty on my ship, they are part of my crew. This fellow would have to die.

I got to the top of the ladder and fired my plasma pistol, but the giant dodged with a disturbing grace. I feel I am missing something in this encounter. He yelled something and his hands were wreathed in lightning, after which I remembered nothing save waking after the fight had ended. Kalm was just coming around and immediately began consuming the Giant’s dinner. Of the big sorcerer, there was no sign. When I asked, Ignatio he mumbled something about the Giant having date with Nurggle. I shudder at the mention of the name.

I was badly hurt and we needed to regroup so I ordered us back to the ship. Kalm refused to come or reply, given his/her/its recent loss I was disinclined to press the matter. He/She/It would catch up or we would pick Him/Her/It on the return trip. We waited at the shuttle as long as we could but the persistence of the local customs officials made any more delay untenable. This is the risk one runs when working with Xenos, they have their own motivations.

When we arrived at the ship, on Ignatio’s recommendation, I had the Kroot confined to quarters to make it appear as if they are Xeno Slaves bound for the Kronos Expanse. The dreaded inspection went as well as could be hoped, though the official mentioned something about a “Watch Captain” from the Sons of Orar wanted to speak to me. While Space Wolves are pleasant enough drinking companions, I have no desire to converse with another chapter, especially one of the lineage of Gulliaman. I imagine they inherited his limited sense of humor. As soon as the Administratum flunkies were away I grabbed as many Armsman as I could and headed down to the planet.

We met Kalm, covered in, I assume, Tiger Blood, and his/her/its other Kroot companion back in the Kroot Temple. I was no longer under the illusion that this was my fore-father’s Tomb. Kalm did not volunteer his whereabouts and I felt no need to ask. I find our relationship works better on those terms. A short way from where we were reunited we found a chamber that was carved to resemble a star map of the Kronos Expanse with a marker for the coin Trejec found. Apparently I am heading to the Kronos Expanse after all. I do so love when fate makes an honest man of me. We will put in at Port Wander for repairs to the Anvil before heading out.

Let us hope that Arms of Khal marks the spot and we do not find a Khal to Arms instead.

The Hunt
A first for everything

The giant’s spear crumpled Yudah and sent him tumbling to the shrine below. The gods will embrace his spirit before he ever hits the floor, we warriors should be so lucky to die in such a place. This one’s strength is far beyond any human I’ve seen…I must not allow him to notice me.

Only a few more steps…lightning is leaping from his fingertips now. The Khal has fallen. I am upon him, my new weapon whirs to life in preparation for the strike.


An otherworldly light blinds me, I can feel nothing but agony. It feels as if life itself is trying to rip it’s way out of my chest. Something has me by the arm. My barb is being forcefully extended, jabbed into something over…and over.

My vision returns, and the world is an angry red. I can feel my thoughts slip further and further away. Instinct takes control.

Scents…many. Blood of the Kroot, burned flesh of the human, and the musky stench of the fresh kill. The hunger is undeniable.

First bite, feline beast…strength…keen senses…superior agility. Fit for consumption.

Vitality returns. Annoying outsiders make noises, motion for me to follow them. Only the feast matters.

Outsiders gone…all is quiet, save for the sounds of the young Kroot warrior that has remained to feed alongside me. We will don the ancient markings, scrawled out on our skin in the blood of this beast. We will track this giant and feast upon his entrails.

The hunt begins.

The trail is too easy. The tracks are plain to see, the scent of it’s sweat is thick in the musty air. The annoying buzzes return in my head, until I dig the offending polyp from my ear canal. Vengeance is all that matters now.

The light of the day stings my eyes momentarily, the giant has fled outside the structure. I send the young warrior back. This kill will be mine and mine alone.

From a superior vantage point in the trees above, I close in upon it. The man-beast is lapping water greedily from a small stream. I pull a length of steel wire from my pouch…I want to watch the life of this one drain slowly from it’s eyes.

I freeze.

The giant seemingly turned it’s gaze directly upon me. I had been silent, I am invisible. How?

Then it begins to rant and rave…having a conversation with those that are not present. It cries out for the mercy of some sort of god…his Emperor. The wretched thing curls into a ball and weeps. The beast flesh in my stomach turns at the sight…

My body relaxes. I return to the ruins empty handed. For the first time in my life, pity has stayed my hand…

Ramming Speed
///Access File: 10-28-802M.41///

///Access File: 10-28-802M.41///

Ship’s Log of the Rogue Trader Ship Hammer
Lord Captain Viktor Khal, Commanding
Ramming Speed!
Our guest from the Inquisitorial Destroyer has proved to be of some value. The following are copies of the communiqués between the prisoner and myself, via Bob. On a personal note I do find it worrisome that Gaan was able to transmit information to Bob in this manner and Ignatio was positively apoplectic when he found out but then again none of us had slept in 2 weeks so it was forgivable. Bob will need to be watched closely, he does seem more….cheerful.

The first message:

i am gann your prisoner i have hacked your mechanical skull i am sorry i do not want any more pain i know you will begin to torture me soon if i dont talk but they will kill me once i start to discretion is necessary i am a member of the physicians and i believe your ship and crew have already been compromised by us please be careful who you confide in someone is coming i must stop

-In response to Gann’s message I issued the following orders:

Gaan is to be moved under heavy Kroot guard, lead by Ignatio and Kalm to the most secure cell in the brig.
No one is allowed access to the brig under any circumstance except the Doctor (with a command crew member as escort), to check on and feed the patient or two members of the command crew. Visits are to be made in teams of two, the only exception being myself and Bob.
I am stationing our newly made servitor at the brig door with instructions to enforce these orders. I would like it outfitted with a basic weapons system.
I would like to have Bob check out to ensure he hasn’t been tampered with. Once reassured I am programming Bob to act as a secret go-between to prisoner. He will be instructed to be as clandestine as possible. Visiting the prisoner when no one but myself or the servitor is in view. With the aim of making it appear that we are too busy to interrogate Gaan at this point. I program Bob with the following message:

My Reply to Gaan:


Thank you for your missive. It is refreshing when one’s captives are reasonable. I assure you that we are not the Inquisition and I have no desire to bring you to more pain unless you give me no other alternative. I have taken steps to protect you from the mole you fear in within my crew and I have tasked Bob here as a go between. The skull is entirely trustworthy. Your wellbeing, I’m afraid does come with a price. I require information that you will provide. While I have no desire to hurt you, I promise that if you prove a threat to myself, my dynasty, or the loyal members of my House, a long walk out of a short airlock will be the least of your personal tragedies. Now that the usual unpleasantness is out of the way…

Who are the Physicians?
What is their interest in my House and myself?
What is your relationship to this group?
Is this their emblem? (I embed a pic of the symbol on my powerfist)
What do you know of this traitor in my ranks? Details are needed…
What do you know of Rodrigo’s Tomb?
What do you know of Alistair Thorne’s death?

I think that will be all for now.


_Viktor Khal _
Nauachus Dominus Khal

Gaan’s Response:

we physicians are healers and men of learning peacemakers your forebear roguerio took something from my people a long time ago and now we seek to get it back allistair thorne was the man who captured me branding me a heretic he was not as cruel as the others i did not know he was dead how did he die

My Reply to Gaan:


Thank you for your reply and cooperation. In answer to your question, Alistair was murdered by poison, rumor has it by one of his own acolytes. I was very close to him and anything you might be able to tell me that would help is appreciated, but I also have more pressing questions.

I would also like to know what was it that Roguerio stole, exactly? Why did Alistair consider you a Heretic? Why and how did the other Physician that we met shoot a laser out of his finger and dissolve into nothing?

What should I look for to help identify the traitor? I have taken steps to segregate you from the general population and ensure that you are never alone with any one crew member besides myself. I am also implying that you will be thoroughly interrogated after we are through with Daimios, and are forgotten in the mean time. While all this should add to your safety. The sooner this person is captured the better off you will be.

In appreciation for your assistance, I would like to make you more comfortable. Consider it one of the benefits of pleasant dealings with House Khal. Make a request of me and I shall endeavor to see that you have it provided it will not facilitate your escape or allow you to bring harm to any aboard any of my ships. Given your precarious situation with this traitor running around, discretion should be your watch word.

My Thanks,
Viktor Khal
Lord Captain of House Khal

This is as far as our discussion proceeded before we exited warp, praise the God Emperor to an end from that nightmare. Four weeks with little to no sleep is highly unpleasant and the crew was rumbling in a manner similar to one’s belly after eating a Gunmetal Street Meat Burrito. Sadly, we jumped from one nightmare to another. As we exited the warp we found not only an on going battle between Tyranids and Imperial ships, but that 3 of the Tyranids had spotted us and were on an attack course. I hate fighting bugs, they never have anything of value once you’ve defeated them, just various forms of goo and body parts.
The battle was tense, especially for me. The Hammer and her crew acquitted herself well, as always, but this was Rojer’s first time at the helm with live weapons. I must say he handled himself as befits a Khal, even though he was boarded. One can only do so much with a freighter armed or other wise. Once we were finished, we sneaked, well…limped would be more accurate, our way past the OTHER on-going space battle to land on the planet with our guide. Soon I shall step on to the world that susposidly entombs the greatest of my line. My pony tail tingles with excitement. What wonders and treasures must there be? Still if this truly is the last resting place of a Khal, I should be wary. Knowing Roguerio’s history, the bloody planet is likely rigged to go once some one walks trough the door. He was that kind of guy.

Meant to Be
Kroot Politics

The smooth, loping strides of Kalm echoed down the corridor. She yet held the xeno weapon pulled from the unconscious tech priest earlier, though her mind was elsewhere. Life aboard a starship had little in common with her days spent on the surface of Burnscour. The strange beings they met, the wondrous places they visited…the nonstop perils that presented themselves on a nigh daily basis. Well, at least that much was the same.

A small group of crewmen walked past, their eyes on the floor. Kalm found that most humans were at the best frightened of her kind, and at the worst intolerant of their existence. There was little love loss from her end. Captain Khal proves to be a rare exception, and he certainly seems to know the value of a thing. The Rogue Trader definitely did not keep the Kroot on board for their charming personalities and conversational skills.

Coming to a stop in front of the door to the Kroot barracks, she took a deep breath. Her warriors had already noticed Kalm’s presence and unconsciously filled the air with the scent of subservience. Similarly, she began to exude the scent of the pack alpha…the scent of a Shaper. Kalm’s body was changing slightly each day, evolving more and more to fill the role she never asked for. Already she felt stronger, faster, and more aware than she had been before departing their home on Burnscour. Those changes have been far more welcome than the strange visions and haunting nightmares that seem to accompany them.

A quick twist of the wheel, and she was through the hatch. The accommodations given to the Kroot were adequate (and far more than Kalm initially expected). The barracks seemed to be designed for a human fighting force more than twice their number, which enabled the alien warriors to spread out comfortably. Rarely did one of the crew, save for perhaps Bass or Ignatio, ever dare to venture into their domain. The smell of incense from druidic shrines mixed with that of fresh meat hanging above some of the bunks would turn the stomach of your average human. For Kalm, the smells were barely noticeable over the various scents being given off by her comrades. The Kroot communicate this way almost more than they do with words. And as always…the messages being conveyed were mixed.

The remnants of Kalm’s tribe had not been ecstatic to hear they were to be drafted into the service of a human privateer. Their home on Burnscour, had in fact been utterly destroyed (albeit “indirectly”) by the very ship they now inhabited. Some consider being on board to be both a curse and an insult to their ancestors. Kalm had no answers for them, save that they must have both faith and patience. Her claims of visions linking the fate of their people to Viktor Khal did less and less to satisfy their dissent, and some were growing bold. The quills held together behind her head strained to stand on end as she sensed anger and aggression..

A rather massive Kroot named Sterk stepped forward. “Shaper, why are we still here?!”

“Because this is where we are meant to be,” Kalm replied, tightening her grip on the barrel of the alien weapon.

“First he has us attack an enemy vessel and then fires on it while we are still on board. And today, we are reduced to petty thugs…beating a pathetic human near to death for what?” Sterk took a step closer to Kalm.

She remained motionless. “We do so because we were ordered to. We are mercenaries now. This is the way our fellow Kroot live amongst the stars.”

“We have as much in common with these other Kroot as we do the humans themselves,” he retorted, gesturing angrily with outstretched hands. “You make a mockery of our tribe!”

Kalm continued to stand her ground. “As long as I am Shaper, my word is law. We will see this through to the end.”

Sterk turned his back to her muttering “Indeed…as long as you are Shaper…”

Without warning, he turned and lunged at her. The smell of his betrayal far preceded his actions however, and Kalm crouched ready and waiting. She swung the xeno gauntlet like a club, smashing it into Sterk’s face and cracking his beak with the force of the blow. The larger Kroot took the attack and powered through it. Their two bodies bounced off a support column and fell harshly to the ground. The gathered Kroot warriors squawked loudly, forming a circle around the duel for leadership…offering no help to either party.

Kalm’s vision blurred momentarily. Sterk was upon her though, pushing her back to the floor and whirring the teeth of her dislodged Crimson Crown to life. She clumsily grabbed for one of the half dozen other weapons adorning her body. Sparks soon began to fly as the chain weapon cut through the feeble blade of the knife she brought up to defend. With only precious seconds to spare, Kalm reached her free hand out for the xeno weapon and thrust it’s pointed tip into the soft flesh of Sterk’s abdomen. He bellowed in pain, and she used the moment to flip him and reverse the mount.

Temporarily lost in the rage, Kalm stabbed him over and over with the weapon. He swung wildly with the razor disk, cutting a large gash in her cheek and chest. During one of her downswings, her blood-soaked hand hit the activation switch. Instantly, a hundred meters of monomolecular wire exploded into Sterk’s body and literally liquefied his innards. Kalm’s eyes widened as her attacker began to spasm uncontrollably…and then fell silent. Absentmindedly, her fingers slipped off the trigger and retracted the wire. A hush passed over the frenzied Kroot.

Kalm stood slowly and glanced around the room. Then, raising the weapon over her head, she issued forth a terrifying avian screech. Her brethren repeated the horrible sound back to her in approval. A speaker located near the door of the room came to life and struggled to relay a message over the noise. Kalm was to report immediately for prisoner transfer. Before leaving, she made sure to mark the body of Sterk with a particular scent…

…one that relayed the message “Not fit for consumption.”

The Death, Yet Again, of Raven

Ship’s Log of the Rogue Trader Ship Hammer
Lord Captain Viktor Khal, Commanding

///Access File: 9-21-802M.41///

One of the more time consuming and often frustrating aspects of the piratical arts is finding an enterprising soul to aid you in off loading your ill gotten gain. This is especially difficult when that ill gotten gain has Inquisitorial rosettes and seals plastered on every bulkhead. At great length and with even greater reluctance I have turned to the only person I knew to be both foolish enough to risk Inquisitorial wrath and connected enough to ensure the dynasty actually turns a profit, Raven Darkwind. I’m fairly certain he stole that name from the narcotic dreams of a retarded vampire, though I doubt he knows enough about ancient Terran lore to know what a vampire is. Still, he’s too connected to ignore out right though I have it on very good authority that all the afore mentioned contacts role their eyes when he starts talking. I found Raven basking in the less than stellar comforts offered by Port Wander, I assume so he can be within running distance of somewhere not Imperial Controlled if, or more likely, when one of his “friends” decided he was too annoying to live. That man has faked his own death so often that Imperial authorities have given up signing death warrants for him. Still, we fetched a good price for the parts and had the weapons installed on the Anvil in good order, so all in all, I can’t complain. We had almost finished the re-fit and re-supply of my little flotilla when the noxious persona of Raven foisted itself upon my vox system. He wanted a face to face meeting….why in the name of the Primarchs do they always want to meet face to face?!? In Raven’s case I can only assume he wanted to admire my rakish good looks in person, poofter that he is. I endeavored to be as courteous as possible and then readied my best fighters to turn him into Kroot Kabobs should he prove traitorous…or worse…amorous.
I was rather surprised at how the meeting turned out. He was in rather subdued form from his normal over the top opera diva self, foot high platforms and Eldar inspired hair not withstanding. He told me that Alistair had been killed. While this was old news, the fact that it was a murder and by an acolyte no less, was defiantly of interest. The old fellow may not have been a Khal by blood but he was family none the less. Revenge is required. I’m staring to accumulate quite a list of Vendettas. Perhaps I’ll let Rojer mastermind this one, it’ll be good practice for the boy. I wonder if Damien knows yet…he takes after his father with the exception of the sense of humor and the alcoholism so I’d imagine he is already flaying the culprit alive in some Inquisitorial dungeon.
Raven’s other new was even more surprising. Apparently someone was trying to organize an expedition to find Roguerio’s Tomb. If any one would know where the Tomb was it would be a Khal, which means it would have been plundered long before now, so the idea that vast Khalian wealth is hidden somewhere in the expanse is laughable. This means that whoever is trying to organize this expedition is either an idiot with more money than sense or an enemy who is trying to flush the last of the Khals into a trap. Personally, I’m inclined to believe the later. The timing is far too convenient. My father always said, “the first step to avoiding a trap is bombarding the trap, the trap setter, and their immediate family from orbit” but then again that was also his standard response for everything from tax collectors to docking fees. While I have nothing against this approach, Alistair taught me that it leaves a little to be desired when intelligence gathering is a priority. Besides which, Bob sensed opportunity in the air. After all, a rich fool is soon parted with his thrones.
My command crew and I found an accommodating bar called, rather ironically, The Back and we proceeded to stack the deck. I filled it with armed crew and put them all on a one drink minimum until the matter was decided one way or the other, and I filled the back rooms with Kroot commandos. I was expecting to at least converse with the fellow before I sprung the trap, but he took the matter out of my hands, rather rudely, I thought. he yelled something about us trying to kill him, which was ludicrous as I had yet to make up my mind on that score. He then mumbled something and Raven’s eyes rolled up in the back on his head. Now, admittedly, I spent most of my time in Inquisitorial service aboard a heavily armed cruiser drinking normally illegal alcohol and misusing Imperial resources, but I had served long enough to recognize sorcery when I saw it. I ordered Bob to spring the trap and put an end to this before someone got sucked into the warp. Kalm tried to take out Raven before he could prove a greater threat only to be thrown like a rag doll. The witch was the key so I went for him while Ignatio blew poor possessed Raven’s leg off. Not the typical way of dealing with possession, but any port in a storm as they say. Needless to say the silly bastard did not survive his wounds…criminals everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief. As for the caster, he shot his fucking finger at me….his finger! Not only that, after missing once the damned finger beam turned and shot itself at me again. For a second I thought I was on the damned cruise again. Bloody sorcerers… My crew, seeing that Raven was dead, the witch was shooting his bleeding finger at me, and the alien hunter/Merc who had his hands in the air and was running for cover, decided to shoot at the least threatening of our adversaries. So much for my one drink minimum order. Luckily, Kalm’s commandos were far more effective in dealing with the Witch and effectively ending the fight. My men had done enough damage that I had to buy the bar and talk/bribe my way back to my frigate where it’d take a full company of Arbiters to extract us. Even then, I’d put some unsightly holes in Port Wander before they succeeded.
Our interrogation of the hunter was very revealing. He claimed to have found ruins on the world of Daimios. This by itself would mean little but he also had in his possession an amulet with the crest of House Khal on it. Perhaps there is more to this than meets the eye. It warrants investigation whatever the case. Unfortunately, the mage proved less cooperative. He ramble something cryptic as his kind are want to do and dissolved. Not the transportation sort of dissolving, more of the fuck-you suicide kind of dissolving. The only thing of use to be gained was that the emblem of the witch’ s clothes matches the emblem on my newly acquired power fist and the emblem found with the prisoner on the Inquisitorial Destroyer. Perhaps it is the symbol of these Physicians the ships log spoke of?
I strongly encouraged the hunter to join the cause of House Khal which he did willingly, smart man that he is, and I pulled our crew back for shore leave that we might set course to this Daimios as soon as possible. It seems in even this minor order I was to be thwarted by the laughing gods of the void. One of my engineers had Pertwee at….something point….and was babbling something about a ship made of love, Emperor help us. The crew dispatched of this addled idiot quickly but it serves as a reminder that this death cult I keep hearing of must not be forgotten. At least I have a shiny new servitor to put to work. Speaking of…I haven’t seen Bob for sometime. I hope the little bonehead hasn’t gotten trapped in the women’s locker vent again….so embarrassing.

Ferris the Bull's Day Off
///Access File: 9-6-802M.41///

Ship’s Log of the Rogue Trader Ship Hammer
Lord Captain Viktor Khal, Commanding

///Access File: 9-6-802M.41///

After a tedious but uneventful expedition my crew and I managed to uncover the fabled glove of the Imperial Saint, Ferris the Bull. It is understandable if you don’t recognize the name. Ferris the Bull was a minor saint of the Calixis Sector known more for his truancy from the Schola he attended than his rather spectacular and messy death at the hands of a Demon Prince that qualified him for sainthood. Still, he does have some admirers amongst the more rotund members of the Ecclesiarchy and his glove promised to fetch a respectable sum.

Upon arriving, I expected the usual noisy Imperial customs officials to descend upon my vessel like bulimic piranha after a purge cycle, but there was nothing. The skies had some transport traffic, but none of the Arbiter or military vessels one usually associates with an Imperial World. Bob’s suspicions were aroused immediately and I have learned to trust the old bonehead’s instincts in such matters. The Hammer’s scanners decided that this was a good time to throw a tantrum and spent most of the day in a corner sulking.

We didn’t have long to indulge our growing unease before the local Abbot contacted me to request a face to face meeting. I’m not against such meetings but I prefer to hold the high ground so I invited him to the Hammer to view the merchandise. He refused, as I half expected, but rather than be defiant or insulted he seemed nervous….that tingling in my ponytail was growing exponentially. I agreed with some reluctance and promptly filled the shuttle with my two best warriors: Kalm, of course and the Bas, whose hammer alone has the death sentence in three systems.
Our approach showed a landscape scarred by battle and if my unease grew any stronger my head was going to explode like a puppy next to a Chaos Sorcerer. As we landed, a Veteran Sister of Battle ran to our shuttle extolling our courage for coming to the monastery and entreating us to follow. I hate being duped, if I’m not the most cleaver person in the room, everyone else had best be working for House Khal or well on their way to an early grave….somebody was going to die messily for this one. She led us to the Abbot who, unsurprisingly, turned out to be a rotund slug of a man who was desperate to escape the planet with as many valuables and cronies as he could take off with.

Apparently this world was in a state of rebellion against the Imperium and the populace was systematically killing every priest and official they could lay hands on. Given the exalted specimen before me, I couldn’t entirely bring myself to blame them. My sympathies were quickly crushed by self interest when I learned that the rebels had placed Medusa Anti-Aircraft tanks in the woods around the monastery to shoot us down as soon as we fork-lifted the fat fools on to the shuttle. The Sister was able to give us a general area to look for the rebels who would have to be dealt with before I began exacting creative revenge upon my bejeweled annoyance.

Kalm had been listening from his/her/its concealed place in the shuttle and once he/she/it received the general area, fine Xeno that he/she/it is, began to move to track down our new foes. We soon came upon two particularly inept PDF troopers on patrol. The Bas, while perhaps not his intention, managed to be particularly adept in inspiring capitulation in the leftmost of our erstwhile adversaries and Kalm quickly subdued the other. A brief interrogation revealed the general locations of the batteries with enough specificity for Rojer and Kataline to track the locations from orbit. I ordered the coordinates relayed to Jak and my Number One aboard the Hammer so they might strike the further emplacement from orbit while we assaulted the nearer.

Kalm made a marvelous distraction by causing some sort of hallucination in one of the PDF troops, interesting ability that, which allowed the Bas and I to circle around the back of the Medusa, effectively splitting our adversary’s attention in half. The soldiers soon perished in Plasma Flame and gory hammer strikes. We were salvaging everything of value including the Medusa, when Kataline voxed that a flotilla of Warships were approaching the planet at speed. My years as a raider had taught me Warships rarely showed up to throw the kind of surprise parties one wanted to attend. The Fat Abbot insisted that we load himself, two of his even fatter, if you can imagine, cronies and as many of the artifacts and valuables from the monastery as we could load in the lighter. I obliged with a grin and a wink to Kalm.

The Warships soon turned out to be an Inquisitorial Flotilla come to purge the world below in fire for their sins. I can’t help but note that the Inquisition isn’t nearly as entertaining on this side of the Rosette.

Most of the vessels were too busy gleefully purging the heretics, their families, and any innocent bystanders in the sector that the Hammer nearly flew away unscathed until a Destroyer spotted us and gave chase. In an even fight between a Destroyer and a Frigate I’ll take the Frigate any day, especially when that Frigate is the Hammer, but Bob tweeted in my ear that this was a Golden Opportunity to expand House Khal’s holdings. Smart skull, that Bob. Besides, Kalm’s Kroot could use the exercise after gorging themselves on Priest kabobs.

We came along side to send Kalm, the Bas, and the Commandos over to wreak as much havoc as possible. The Destroyer managed to pull away from us but all they got for their trouble was a hole in the hull from one of Jak’s well place laser barrages. We hit their life support systems and the Void Suited Kroot’s job became much easier.

We’ll find a nice quite spot to strip our prizes for parts and valuables to convert into profit, though I think I’ll have her guns mounted on the Anvil. Rojer could use some target practice. I must also remember to dig through the ship’s data files…who knows what tidbits of value lie in an Inquisitorial Destroyer’s memory? All in all, a very good day for House Khal.

Ship’s Log of the Rouge Trader Vessel, Hammer
///Access File: 5-22-802M.41///

Ship’s Log of the Rouge Trader Vessel, Hammer
Lord Captain Viktor Khal Commanding

///Access File: 5-22-802M.41///

It’s been decades since I walked these decks. The decks my family used to stride the very stars themselves. Now that the Hammer is safely back in the possession of House Khal, the necessities and formalities of command must be maintained, ab brevis, I must begin keeping a Ship’s Log again. I have no idea what happened to my honored father’s Log, and my own tenure as Captain last was brief and upset a great deal by the necessity to run and hide. So, I shall begin at the commencement, where all such records should start, but rarely do.
I am descended from a long line of Rogue Traders, who were more Rogue than Trader, I was groomed from birth to succeed my father, the Dread Privateer, Lord Captain Ashryel Khal. My early years are what one would expect from the heir to a powerful Rogue Trader Dynasty. A great deal of training, a bit of combat, and far too many teenage hi-jinks that would get a lesser citizen sent to an Imperial Guard Penal Legion. I had already been in command of one of my father’s merchant traders for several years when I received word that my father was liquidating our holdings in order to hire a vast mercenary army. His intention was to re-capture a recently re-discovered star system that had “fallen from the Emperor’s sight”. Lord Captain Ashryel ordered me to report to the Hammer, the Khal Family’s Ancestral Sword Class Frigate, as his first officer with the promise of giving me the Hammer and Warrant of Trade once the system was taken. He would make himself a Lord Governor and secure a world for his dynasty to act as a base of operations for what he called an “aggressive trade fleet”, which is Khalanese for Pirate Armada. My father was a bold man but not terribly original.

All the intelligence pointed to a sparsely defended world that hadn’t seen an Imperial Missionary since just before the Apostasy and had turned feral. The intelligence however, was manufactured by a cabal of my father’s numerous enemies. The world was in fact a secret Thousand Sons base. My father and his Mercenary army were slaughtered by a wall of anti-air missiles before their assault shuttle so much as broke cloud cover. I must confess that while my father was never a loving man and commanded his family much like he commanded his ships, it pained me beyond description to watch his death on the Hammer’s Auspex. Still, I have learned many times that one of the best cures for grief is blood curdling terror, at least in the short term. I quickly came to my senses and realized that escape was my crew’s only hope. I turned engine and fled for the warp as fast as the Hammer’s engines would burn. The fallen Marines pursued us in a Battleship belched forth from the mouth of Hell itself. It had hidden itself behind the world’s only moon, waiting for us like some bloated space spider, which was something else I was about to become all too familiar with. The commander of the Chaos ship used his foul powers to taunt us, his voice seemed to echo from the very bulkheads themselves. Rather than destroying the” spawn of the impudent fool burning on the planet below”, the Sorcerer promised, laughingly, that he would send my crew and I on a “delightful cruise like no other”. I am not one to stop and ponder the lunatic ramblings of a Warp dabbler too deeply when my life was at stake, so I transitioned into the warp as soon as my drives shown green. It was only moments into our warp journey that we realized what had occurred. The Sorcerer had cursed the ship’s Geller Field and no amount of supplication to the machine’s spirit would wake it. Thus began my cruise of the damned.

My time in the warp is not something I like to discuss for obvious reasons. Suffice to say the things that crawled into my ship like to play with their food. I’m afraid my time in the pink miasma has left me with habits that many scorn only because they do not understand, but the simple truth of the universe is that those who even see a glimmer of the hidden reality can never stay sane. Sanity depends on the delusions we whisper to ourselves to survive. The warp has a way of stripping us of those delusions. Still, delusions can be powerful and everyone tells me I’m deluded, therefore it follows that I must be powerful as well. Still, I digress, when the ship emerged the rest crew was long since dead (or would be if they had the decency to stay still and stop wandering about the place) and the great vessel was a shell of it’s former self. Knowing the ship was beyond salvaging (by anything short of a Astartes Chapter at any rate) and not wanting the things that now whispered in it’s broken hull to get loose (or follow me to continue their rather nasty pranks), I manually aimed the Hammer at the system’s local star and held it there until the last possible moment before I climbed into the last working escape pod with what few relics I could salvage and my family’s Warrant of Trade. Thus it was that the last of the Khal’s left their beloved ancestral Frigate.

Grave is a craggy outpost of scum and villainy. A scruffy little moon orbiting a bruised gas giant, the outpost’s one redeeming quality was that it was a short hop from the major Imperial Trade Lanes of the Calixis Sector. This makes it very popular with pirates and renegades, to say the least. It was here that I crashed. I sold the salvage rights to what was left of the pod to the worst off Tech Priest I’d ever laid eyes on. The poor fellow’s optical mechandrite kept falling out of his head, and his vocalizer seemed to have Tourette’s Syndrome. The proceeds gave me enough Thrones to feed myself in the short term while I began to plotting my return to the stars.

It didn’t take long before my money ran out and I was forced to put my skills to use as a Void Master to a Star Raider based out of Grave. Despite my familial propensity to raid and pillage, the situation was hardly ideal. While I am far from law abiding, I took umbrage with the pilgrim ships my fat, greedy, idiot of a captain preferred to target, but, I was content enough with my share of the profits to not make too much fuss. My paid silence ended when I learned that the Raider captain had made a deal with a chaos cult to sell the pilgrims they’ve capture as slaves or perhaps sacrifices. Shaking the coins out of the pockets of those who should know better than to travel in a practically unarmed transport is one thing, helping chaos worshipping filth was quite another. I felt that I’d been forced to demean my family name quite enough for one lifetime. Piracy doesn’t bother me. Targeting poor pilgrims, rather than say, plump merchant vessels, is stupid and lazy but even that I could stomach. Aiding demon worshipping filth…that I couldn’t abide. I soon began looking for a way to bring the Raiders and the cultists down in one strike, hopefully while turning a tidy profit for myself.

My opportunity came with the next raid. Another pilgrim transport, another futile effort to flee. Hunting the pious is so dull, they always stick to the same evasive maneuvers, which I like to refer to as the Missionary Position. While the other raiders were inspecting the passengers (throwing the old, sick, and the weak out of a handy airlock) I took it upon myself to see if there was anything interesting in the passenger’s pockets. I came across a rather peculiar overweight old man. Having never seen an overweight pilgrim in steerage before, (especially given that the entire ship was steerage), I sensed something was amiss, and where something is amiss…opportunity lurks. I ordered the old man into a nearby storage compartment. Before I got so much as a syllable out of my mouth, a man with a gun seemed to coalesce out of the shadows (as is his habit), while the old man shoved an Inquisitorial Rosette in my face. Rather than melt into a gibbering terror, as the pair seemed to expect, I started grinning, for I knew this was exactly the chance I’d been looking for. After a bit of conversation and more than a little bargaining, the Inquisitor, who turned out to be a fellow named Alistair Thorn and his personal Assassin who simply called himself Dex, agreed to not kill me outright. It didn’t take long for an accord to be reached. I would help the Inquisitor take down the cultists and agree to serve as his personal ship’s captain (the last apparently had been eaten by a Chaos beast) for a set period of time and in exchange, when my term was up, Thorn would see to it that I was outfitted with a ship and crew of my own, not to mention enough resources to get me back on course. Needless to say the pirates were killed, the cultists were purged, and the pilgrims were saved…well, for the most part anyway.

Next two decades or so were rather pleasant. I was captain of a fine ship, was making a bit of money on the side, and was part of an organization where my quirks were not quite so out of place. I even discovered he rather liked hunting heretics. I like to think of it as “sticking it to those pissy bastards in the warp”. It was during this time that I was introduced to Avaya Thorn, Alistair’s rather becoming daughter, who oddly found my peculiarities rather amusing. No doubt this was the result of being raised in an Inquisitor’s household. Eventually, we were married and had a son, Rojer. My beloved, sadly, never recovered from her labor and died soon after. This did little to help my admittedly, unstable mental state, but the pride he took in my boy helped to make my grief bearable. Both Alistair and I agreed Rojer should be raised on the Thorn estate. He would be provided the best training Alistair’s Inquisitorial resources could provide. Thorn knew perhaps better than anyone how dangerous the Imperium can be. He and I would make sure Rojer was prepared for it.

Sadly, all good things must come to a close and the good old Inquisitor finally met his end. I was investigating rumors that the Hammer had not been destroyed when the news came. The Inquisitor had died in the line of duty but had more than kept his word. He’d re-validated the Khal family’s Warrant of Trade and deposited enough Thrones in an account on Scintilla to outfit the Jericho Pilgrim Transport Thorn had procured from the Ordos’ Confiscated Shipyard. It wasn’t the flashiest void treader in the Imperium, but it was a start. I’d had spent more than a little time misappropriating Inquisitorial resources to forge contacts of my own and look up some my father’s old followers. I was confident my son and I could put together a fine Command Crew. I even had a name in mind; my new steed would be called the “The Anvil” as something of a memoriam to our lost Frigate. I couldn’t help but raise a glass to the old man. After all, he’d set Lord Captain Viktor Khal back on course to the unknown stars.

There was still the matter of the Hammer sightings to be dealt with first. With a proper crew at my back I felt confident that I could re-take the family’s frigate from the things that surely must still infest it. My search took months, investigating ghost ship sightings, hidden asteroid fields and unexplored worlds. It was on a world, which, while not unexplored, was defiantly uncharted, that the crew of the Anvil came across a downed Kroot Warsphere. It’s shaper had been killed in the crash and the survivors were being lead by some sort of senior Kroot Commander, if they have such things.
His/Her/It’s name was Kalm Ophou and he/she/it was remarkably civil for Xeno. Especially a Xeno that had been fighting off scavengers and fanatics for the Emperor only knows how long. My voidsmen and I made planet fall near enough to the wreck of the Warshpere to watch the Kroot in action. I was impressed to say the least. Again, I felt the knock of opportunity. I lead my men to reinforce the Kroot forces and drive off the startlingly well-armed locals. My admiration rose when he returned to find Kalm and his/her/it’s strike team had managed to infiltrate our Dropship without any of the landing crew being aware. The only creature I’d ever encountered that was any where close to being that stealthy was Alistair’s personal assassin, Dex. Shifty bastard had liked to hone his skills by stealing my hat from within the ever increasingly elaborate security systems I’d devised to stop him from scurrying off with it. Of course, I’d retaliate by hiding his guns, which made him positively apoplectic. Heh, those were good times.

Kalm was grateful for our intervention and was kind enough to A: not kill my landing crew and B: to invite me to dinner and C: polite enough to not serve the remains of the locals (though the bodies were all gone by the time we left). Kalm and I talked for many hours. Kalm seemed impressed to find a human that didn’t want to shoot him on sight and I knew enough about Kroot Mercenaries to know they would make fine allies. It seemed that the Warsphere and it’s crew had been stuck on this miserable death world for quite some time. Kalm and his/her/it’s people had been there long enough, at least to witness a drifting Imperial vessel crash into one of the beast trader ships that landed periodically. The description matched an ornate Sword class Frigate. It could only be the Hammer! I knew I was close to my prize so I struck deal with Kalm. If they would aid me in the recapture of my ship, I would give them transport to anywhere they wished. Kalm seemed impatient to be off this cursed rock and quickly agreed.

Kalm was the last Kroot to board the Anvil’s lighter. When asked what took him//her/it so long he/she/it only replied he was “preserving what needed to be preserved.” The shuttle shook as the Kroot Warsphere was engulfed in the blue flames of a plasma explosion. I admit to feeling a small pang of regret while I stared at the blue flames. I hated leaving anything un-plundered, but it’d be poor manners to do so in front of my new friend.
Even with Kalm’s help it took 3 more months to locate the Hammer. Only as The Anvil launched grapnels to arrest the motion of the great ship did I begin to feel uneasy about the return to my beloved ship. I wanted her back, badly, but not badly enough to face the ghosts and beasts that must surely be roaming its decks. How else could she have been spared the solar burial I’d planned for her? Kalm and his Kroot Kommandos lead the boarding party with me in tow. We spent another month scouring every deck, every bulkhead, and every inch of the ship only to come up completely empty. Even the psyker felt nothing. She gleamed like she was fresh from the forges of Mars. Every system functioned perfectly. It was like she was welcoming her Master home. Even so, I spent the entire trip back to the Thorn estates in an uneasy waiting game, expecting it all to turn into another Warp twisted prank, but nothing happened.

I expected Kalm to demand his/her/its side of the bargain immediately, and here too, I was proved wrong. Rather annoying being wrong, but at least I’d nabbed a valuable addition to my crew. After several weeks at void I finally asked the Kroot point blank. Kalm blinked at him and said only that he/she/it and his/her/its people are exactly where they were supposed to be and that he’d/she’d/it’d let the me know if that changed.

With the beginnings of a Fleet on my hands I decided it was time for young Rojer to learn to command an actual ship. I summoned the lad and gave him the command of the Anvil with one of the families trusted Void-Masters as his first officer. How she survived I have no idea, but Kataline Vuroc had both wiped, spanked and saved the collective asses of at least 3 generations of my family so I decided it prudent not to press the issue. Some practical experience would be the perfect way to round out the boy’s training and it’d free me up to see to building ourDynasty back into sometime the stars will respect and fear. It was long past time House Khal reclaimed its place among the stars.


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