I relinquish the captain of the command throne and thumb through various updates upon my personal cogitator as the crew mills about triple check systems while cogboys make some inane tunings to system all around the command deck as the smell of incense envelops my nose. The Armorcrys showed me a view of the ever-expansive void along with my own ships and smile. Two Tyrant class cruisers I’d personally overseen the salvage of to my left along with the Dictator class cruiser Ramparts of Light, a gift from a fellow from another House upon the confirmation of my family’s Warrant of Trade. A complete wreck of a vessel when it came to me it now glinted magnificently in the faint starlight. Then finally was my personal pride made manifest. To the direct right of the Virtuous Pursuit, dwarfing everything around it was the Universe-class super heavy transport Viator Magnum, its holds filled with everything necessary for planet reclamation. These were my ships. “Time to bring Glory to the Emperor by claiming Him a new world.” The Warp shutters slowly descends as a droning alarm blared. I made the sign of the Aquila. My daughter Elitza was nervous. This would be her first warp jump. I remember my own initial venture between what should and should not exist. The sickening twist in your gut as reality contorts to suit humanity’s ever present need to move between the stars. Creaks and groaning metal are some of the most common sounds a voidsman can hear each and every time. These sounds do not bring fear or dread but in fact a sense of relief. For if you couldn’t hear them something was definitely wrong. Hull breaches that sucked away the precious life sustaining systems, a Chrono-desist were time was non existent for an inordinate amount of time, trapping crews within the immaterium for decades or even centuries. Boundless terrors came with warp travel, yet it was a necessity to keep the imperium functional. A metallic countdown jolted me back from thinking on the ills of space travel and I made the sign of the Aquila, as I had always done praying for safe passage to our destination. The familiar, brief wave of nausea came over us all and I held back a glimmer of pride to see Elitza unfazed by the transition.
Thirteen standard days had passed since our departure and I was busying myself in my study working through a mound of paperwork. Planetary resettlement demands quite a bit of signatures and ceremonial commitment and so my hand had just about had enough of me. I stood up massaging away the aching pain that seemed to shoot through my hand with the slightest movement and looked down at the simply framed picture that always sat at the right hind side of my desk. It was of Myself, my Wife Teodora and my little Elitza. I lit a lho stick and puffed till the orange glow steadied. One of the few
Pleasures I’d retained after taking my station. I never drank while on ship, clods the mind when important decisions need to be made. No vixens either. My wife is all I ever need in my life, not to mention she tendency to become visibly jealous whenever I speak to anyone of the feminine mystique. Here blonde hair and green eyes were shared with our daughter, while I like to think her mind and stubbornness was my contribution. I continue this train of remembrance until the lho stick becomes naught but a smoldering stub.
As I go to dispose of the stick all of the illuminates in my study flicker then go out completely. Now the embers are my only source of light in my dark room. Somebody, somewhere screams out “Beneficent Emperor No!”
Abruptly my face hit the floor due to the ship rocking violently. Bending and creaking metal is heard from every direction. For a moment I heard screaming that was not uttered from any human throat. Teeth of every size and sharpness flickered in and out of existence as colors unnamed by man filtered their way through my eyes without truly existing. Eyes, so many eyes. Then I am forcibly slid across the carpeted floor slamming into an opulent glass cabinet making a terrible shattering sound. Awake from a nightmare from a slumber I never consented to. I heard all sorts of noises from beyond my room’s plasteel door. Manic laughter, the ionizing shot of lasbolts, crewman barker orders and the whimpers of my trusted men brought low by fear and doubt. Immediately I leapt to an internal ship communicae and broadcasted through the shipboard announcement system. “Compose yourselves!” I hear several clicks of iron heeled boots snap to attention and the sporadic las fire ceased. “Naught what you saw was real. Simply tricks one’s mind plays on itself when the Gellar Fields of any vessel ripple to violently. Remember your faith and recover your senses. Now is not the time to bring shame upon our House. The Emperor Protects is all.”
My personal Guard bypassed my door and entered ready to engage, notably relieved to see, save of some bruises and scraps, me unharmed. Then came my own wash of relief. Elitza was right there amongst my Tverna House Guard. I rushed to her and carefully made sure she was no worse than I before talking to Colonel Yunkov. I could tell his expression was one of distress and apprehension, even from behind his armored face plate. I had taken special care to recreate the knightly helms of my home world, Sigil. The gas mask tubing snaked from his chin to the filtration pack.
“Make for the Bridge.”
Voidsmen and Tech Adepts were in a frenzy on the command bridge. Sparks flew from repair teams and malignant machine spirits alike. Commodore Preslav had a makeshift bandage tied around his forehead, yet this failed to stem the bleeding entirely as he wiped away a crimson stream causing his hair and skin around his temple to be smeared and ragged. “My liege.” There was a slight weakness to his voice, but nothing too serious by the looks of it. It appears all vessels have reentered the Materium with...minimal damages.” As if to accentuate this understatement one of the wounded cried out in pain as a medicae broke his arm back into place and began to sling it.
“Well that is of some comfort.” I said bring my hand up to wipe away the sweat on my brow. “What caused all this.” I nervously looked towards the navigatorum. “Unknown at this time My lord. We are still unsure of where we are...you see....the stars.” He pointed to the monitor showing the aft of the ship. “By the Emperor. What am I looking at?”
The doors to the Navigation quarters opened with a hydraulic hiss. “We’re frakked for the unforeseeable future Ganev.” With a mixture of relief and annoyance I turned to see the Madame completely unharmed.
“Care to explain any further Krista? So those of us without you blessing of sight can understand that is.”
A bit of flattery never hurt when trying to deal with those of the Navis Nobilite.
“We are trapped within what I can only describe as a bubble within the warp.”
I saw the commodore look as though he were about to wretch. Either from that ill prospect or the blood loss.
“What caused us to be tossed into this anomaly?”
“A Warp Surge, something I have not felt ever before. It seemed as though half the imperium was torn away.”
The crew within earshot seemed to freeze in place at the hear of this news.
“Augur returns Incoming! Multiple Vessels of unknown class and type closing on our location!”
“All Crew to Battle-stations! Ready long range Macro Cannons.”
A crackle of static came over the Vox followed by an ear shattering whine.
I looked to the nearest adept and pointed to him.
“Clean up that broadcast at once”
“By the will of the Omnissiah my Liege.”
“Hold Fire until Communication I established. I’ve know very few belligerent who like to chat before a fight.”
A tense few minutes passed before the Vox clicked back to life with a clearer message.
“Come in Imperial Vessels, this is System Defense Patrol Fleet Auriga. State your situation and we shall offer assistance.”
Even I was left slack jawed at this message. An SDF force was stationed here? Or perhaps they too were thrown he by the uncaring tides of the Warp? What is going on?
“Receiving Imperial identification Hymnals my Liege, they are ancient but appear authentic to a degree.”
I ponder whether or not to order defensive action, but this would seem to only end poorly.
“This is Rogue Trade Ganev Serebryakov Petrovna, Patriarch of House Petrovna from the Sigil system. Our intentions were to recolonized the abandoned Desolaterra system by Order of the Administratum. We have suffered minor damages and casualties from sudden warp ejection and would gladly accept assistance.”
“Confirmed, are any number of your vessels disabled and in need of tow?”
I looked cautiously at Preslav and he nodded no.
“No, all ships are operable at this time.”
“Understood follow us in directly, do not veer off the course we have provided and return to port Kyfan. I have sanctioned two of my escort ships to act as scout craft to your aft and forward. The Emperor Protects.”
“Indeed he does.”