(Delivered by bonded members of the Couriers Gulid, 099.816, M41)
Your assailant, Erdred Kenn, appears to have been a freelance gun-for-hire, though without identification credentials his identity and trade are assumed (based upon the information you provided).
The scene was handled by Magistratum officers from the local IV-7 hub. They've determined the names of the two other "guests" who were to join you at Posh Formal Dining, these from the Maitre D'. Destatte assumes they will be pulled in for questioning at the IV-7, and would appreciate if you could get their measure without exposing yourselves. As of yet, the weapon Kenn used has not been identified. Destatte may need to make a formal inquiry for this.
The prayer walls have been droning on about renewing our devotion to His Most Benevolent Emperor as proof against a burgeoning contagion. Devotion is all well and good, as it should be, but I recommend you purchase (at the very least) filter paper masks and avoid physical contact with the proles as additional precautions.
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The prayer walls seem to be functioning as designed, albeit in various states of repair. I will delve further into the matter when I have secured my current concern. Aside from it's obvious meaning, the phrase "Get out!" is puzzling. It may very well be an example of children being children. Make note of any similar events, and alert Destatte of them when it is convenient to do so.
Remember that a review of your audits is coming due, and that a specialist title is "up for grabs", so to speak.
The Emperor protects.
I have spoken only briefly with Destatte regarding your audits, but I must say I'm pleased with the level of cooperation and initiative you have shown. To think that so few of you remain empties my soul, but I refill myself again with the knowledge that having raised the bar so high for you has not been an endeavor in vain. You all make me proud. However, do not let your egos run amok. Too much pride paves the road to the abyss, and I will speak of it no more.
First a scratch banner, now posted handbills. What do they mean by "Get out and stay out!"? Who is they? Very curious…
You now are burdened with the credentials of an Exculpator. It is a position of judgment, determining guilt in all its degrees. I believe Destatte spoke of innocence, but I strongly warn you not pull that string. Destatte, by training and years of habit, is blinded by the notion of justice, his scales tipping two directions, one side weighted toward guilt and the other toward innocence. Innocence proves nothing, therefor it is a concept you must never entertain. No one is above suspicion. No one.
(Peace, a monthly expense account has been opened through your warrant, the funds to be used as remuneration for investigative expenses [bribes, licenses, vox fees, etc]. The fund balance fixes at 50 Scint on the first day of each month. Please save all receipts.)
Destatte tells me you have made a major purchase? A motorized transport, is it? Well done! Well done, indeed! He has set our duty servitors to altering the vehicle identification, and it will be registered (for the time being) to the Exculpator Warrant. You might ask Evee to give it the "once over" and then have it repainted a suitably subdued shade. Just one point of matronly admonishment: with ownership there comes responsibility, so you will be responsible for your own fuel consumption expenses.
Destatte has kept me apprised of the investigation up to this point. Identify Mag and, if possible, track him to this Liopressa. Find out his involvement/agenda. Is the Liopressa entangled, or just an unwitting investor? Infiltration, stealth, surveilance and, in the case of the Liopressa, discretion. A political "incident" at this juncture would be most unfortunate.
Without Him there is nothing.
Destatte has just informed me that he is feeling a bit peckish.
If you wouldn't mind stopping at that sit-down diner on the boulevard, the one with the pleasing view, and purchase for him one of those quaint sandwiched meat rounds…
He asks that you have them hold the cheese…
I thought I might share some wisdom to put your minds at ease…
You may be feeling that letting Eukur Mag "off the hook" leaves a thread loose in the weave, but he's not likely to "go" anywhere. The Frenzy Pits are registered and licensed in his name, it's his business, and he's not going to up and walk away from it…particularly if what you shared about him having expensive "habits" is true. He may keep his head down for a while, but he'll turn up at the Pits, sooner or later. As long as the Liopressa's goons don't get to him, and we leave him be, he may come to think he's gotten off rather lightly. In that he will be foolish. Once guilty, always guilty. I'll have Destatte keep an eye on his business behaviors…as it sits now, he "owes" us. Or rather, me.
Regarding the Liopressa…
I've been crunching the meat and bones (no pun intended) of the unfolding investigation with piqued interest. Liopress Pietro Ur finds…something…these strange organ clusters, and channels them down to Mag and his phisykae, who then "render" the gamete organs into an injecto-cocktail. Question: Is there any evidence this cocktail induces frenzy, or does it just render a heightened state of awareness, alertness…mettre en garde? Moving onward. Next, the slough organs are disposed of, eventually making their way into the sub-sewers where they are fished out by slummers, who then deliver them to Merek, our pharmacae. The pharmacae renders only the organs known to produce the gamete organs (zygotes), concentrating them through a process of dehydration, selling certain portions back to Mag at the Pits. It is here I puzzled over the turnaround…and questioned Merek. It seems our resident pharmacae was holding a bit to his cuff. He was formerly employed by the Frenzy Pits, as an assistant to Physicae Hombes. Evidently, Hombes is the hack, given Merek's version, and stole credit for Merek's labors in the rendering of the gamete injecto-cocktail, afterward dismissing Merek from employment. (I have suitably chastised Merek for his withholding information…were it not for Evee's assurances that Merek is a bona fide pharma-savant I would have held true to our original bargain, believe you me). Merek confirms dosing lottery fighters with the injecto-cocktail, and swears (on his life, I might add) that this was done not to induce frenzy or "fixes", but to use their bodies as living stills. Merek believed the fighters would undergo ritual bloodletting, a sort of fraternal bonding, that the vitae collected from these rituals would be collected over much longer periods of time, and was mortified to learn of near-immediate and total exsanguinations. Carrying forward…the distillations were being packaged and returned not to Pietro, but to his wife, the Liopressa? Why to her? In any case…Pietro's supply of organ clusters is short-lived, Mag is under obligation to produce, and Physicae Hombes comes begging to Merek for a solution. Evidently, they overestimated the volume of distillation that could be produced from one gamete organ (and if they had bothered to consult Merek prior to his dismissal would likely have continued to retain his services). Merek solicits the aid of slummers to fish the sub-sewers for discarded clusters, renders concentrated gamete-host organs, though he produces a diluted version, and sells them back to Hombes (Merek suspects Mag was left in the dark on this point). Merek's "quick-fix" goes some way to reducing Mag's shortfall, but not far enough. Bear with me, now, as I make some assumptions: the Liopressa is displeased, sending her thugs to corner Mag about his debt, but the thugs refer to this debt as Gelt, not the distillations. Does this mean the Liporessa financed Mag's involvement in some way? Start-up capital? Something isn't connecting here…and it may have something to do with Mag's expensive "habits". Dammit! Indeed, a loose thread. Ah, well. Spilled milk, and all that. He'll turn up. Moving on…you apprehend Mag at the Liopress' estate and take him into custody (which may raise the ire of the Liopressa…which begs the question: how did you address this issue?) and this, by your account of events, immediately following his delivery of injecto-distillations to the Liopress' estate, and this just as the newly-widowed Liopressa takes her place in a mourners' wake honoring her recently-deceased husband, Pietro. Coincidence, or does the Liopressa…what? Kill her husband?…in response to Pietro's inability to provide gamete organs for rendering? Where did this supply of organ clusters originate? How does someone come to the knowledge these gamete organs can be rendered into an awareness-heighteneing injecto (well, actually, Merek explains Hombes "stumbled" through the how like a child repeating nursery verse, likely meaning Mag told Hombes, and…someone…told Mag), which is then distilled in the lving body of a lottery fighter whose adrenaline is up…and to what purpose? What is the intent, here? Gah!
Here is my suggestion: The Liopressa is (supposedly) in mourning. Give her two days, then call on her for an unannounced visit. Assuming none of her staff or security recognize you, politely ask for an interview. We don't want this to appear as a strong-arm: Peace will choose a second (possibly a third) to accompany her in the interview, while the rest will remain in reserve should something "go Klybo". Approach: a matter of estate taxation. In the days intervening the funeral and your interview, Destatte will compile a list of business interests owned and/or financed by Liopress Pietro Ur. As this will be done in haste, you will have an incomplete dosier…but that is precisely why you are holding the interview, to complete your taxation records so that the estate and Pietro's assets may be passed along to her ownership with the least amount of delay and without unnecessary penalties.
Perhaps you can winkle out the cause of Pietro's passing? I say perhaps? Oh, and keep an eye out for packaged vitae…you never know.
A tough, tough go. The meat and potatoes for this business, unfortunately. Let us pray to Him On Earth for less days such as today, and rejoice, for surely His countenance was upon you.
On to the garnish…
Items recovered from the OM&S shipping crate:
1- Several lengths of broken/cracked transluscent green rod; Elbaite Feldspar. Evee confirms their condition as a result of the fire. It is a low-density silicate that can float in magma, and therefore tends to accumulate closer to a planet's surface than more dense material. The tome you recovered from Pietro's collection, 'The Purported Esoteric Properties of Gemstones', contains the following entry:
Feldspars are members of a mineral group that contains at least twenty (some sources say forty) different aluminum silicate minerals and makes up 40% - 60% of M Class crusts.
The esoteric uses of Feldspars vary widely (for example, Labradorite, Amazonite, Moonstone and Sunstone all have very different metaphysical qualities) but the mineral group does have some properties believed to be common to all members. Feldspar is usually considered to be a lunar stone that encourages the development of clairvoyance and clairaudience (the ability to see and hear spirits). Any piece of Feldspar is useful if you are consciously developing your psychic or intuitive powers and it seems to be most effective if you work with the stone regularly while following a course of psychic exercises or meditation lessons. A charm bag containing three small pieces of Feldspar and a silver Moon pendant or charm is an excellent esoteric tool for these purposes.
Perhaps because Feldspar is found in so many places and in so many varieties it has become associated with adaptability and the ability to cope with change.
Feldspar is a birthstone for the xodezic birthsign of Aquarius. Some Aquarius-related esoterics include:
Lucky Stone: Opal; Lucky Talisman: The (lead) Key and the Owl; Positive Qualities: Truth-seeker, honest, probing; Negative Qualities: Changing, hesitant, eccentric.
This reeks of occultism…
2- Minium crystals/dust (owing to melted residue, it is believed to have been enclosed within an innert plastek container). Also known as "red lead", or Psycurium (a counter-psy material).
3- Helmet, Imperial manufacture, Psycurium composite, non-Standard construct (Mk). http://www.yourprops.com/movieprops/original/4cd1c31eca98a/Planet-of-the-Apes-2001-movie-props.jpg
The links connecting these items seem to be at odds.
Also of note…
A- Found within Pietro's collection of ware guides was a curious hand-crafted pamphlet. Though compact, it was surprisingly forthcoming (and legitimate) regarding the identification of Xeno-tech (naming many xeno-specific substances, characteristic crafting tells, etc.). My knowledge of the alien is sparse, at best. Evee confirms the authenticity of the pamphlet's claims (her surety is alarming). The pamphlet contained no printer's mark, but the ink of its graphics is native to Eechan, Helican Sub, Scarus Sector.
B- Found within a secured vault at Pietro's galleria: a Corsair disc caster. Using Pietro's pamphlet it has been identified as a fake, possibly explaining why is was locked away. For obvious reasons, the weapon bears no Fane markings.
Pietros' showroom gallery and galleria provided nothing suspicious. Nothing. His apartment above the showroom is comfortably furnished, but it has obviously been in disuse for some length of time (thick dust, cobwebs). Pietro's rented warehouse ("ware" house) is an example of order and detail. Hundreds of numbered crates in numbered lots filled with thousands of individually wrapped and meticulously-labeled ware pieces, and a registry confirming lot and crate locations. I was able to spend a few spare moments within the place; he has accumulated an impressive collection of antique ware, most of it from the Deco Era, and all of it simply beautiful. Beautiful in it's simplicity.
Suffice it to say I don't think we'll find anything more of use to our audit, other than the monetary value. The Emperor provides.
So, about Liopressa Lazarinne Owek-Ur…
A hedge apple, that one. Maclura pomifera, the dark fruit, poison. Destatte is digging into her identity, full-time. He may burn some resources along the way, but I'll wager the cost worth the catch.
OM&S isn't going to be pulling stakes any time soon without raising any brows, so rest, recuperate, re-invigorate yourselves. I know you must feel you've been dealt quite the kicking. With your reports as a measuring stick, I undoubtedly agree. I will be opening some funds to be dispersed amongst you; this may take a few days. Be sure to catch Cardinal Ignato's live broadcast of Drusus: The Sermons.
Tarsus, "The Guilded City". Seat of the Tarsine Synod, capital of the Calixis Ecclesiarchy. I'm jealous of you. Were I able, not so…I'd join you. I've so desired to visit the Cathedral of Illumination. Fifty-five years on Scintilla and you'd think I'd have done so by now. My, how time does get away from us.
Twenty-six thousand kilometers away, on the other side of the world, somewhere in the vast Tarsine Desert, there is a hedge apple. Catch her, ere her seed takes root, ere her poison spreads.
A recent developement…
An Archaeo-Scholar by the name of Abel Hawthorne paid a visit to Pietro's warehouse.
Having recently returned from a lengthy excavation, he was greeted at his offices by a toppling pile of communiques and correspondence. One letter in particular invited Mr. Hawthorne to visit Liopress Pietro Ur at his warehouse office, stating simply that he had a matter of authenticity that needed settling, and that he knew Mr. Hawthorne's knowledge of the Angevin Era would settle the matter succinctly. It seems the matter involved a cutlass or sabre. Destatte met with Mr. Hawthorne, and following an expurgated summary of events both began a laborious search of the warehouse. A cutlass was eventually discovered (the blade and tang), though there was nothing to indicate from where it had come, whether Pietro purchased it or took possession of it from one of his Exhumator teams…nothing. Mr. Hawthorne was able (no pun intended) to determine almost immediately that the cutlass was constructed following extremely archaic Navy patterns. Destatte left the blade in Mr. Hawthorne's care for further study. Since then, Mr. Hawthorne has informed Destatte that the weapon definitely dates from the Angevin Era, is an Imperial relic, and is virtually priceless.
On to other particulars…
Destatte's research into Lazarrine Owek has dead ended. One of three illegitimate children sired by Lazarus Owek IV, Lazarrine Owek ascended as the heiress of her father's wealth in the manner many such ascensions are achieved on Malfi. A concubine, Lazarrine's mother died shortly after childbirth, and Lazarrine herself was raised as a ward of the household until the age of sixteen when she was given a large stipend (presumably as part of a non-disclosure contract) and cast out. Her sudden return after her father's death caused quite the social stir, though the drama was short-lived (again likely due to Malfian ascension customs). In any case, her estate holdings remained idle (aside from the financial excesses expected to accompany the sudden acquisition of disposable income) for nearly a decade. Then, as if on a whim, she made the journey from Malfi to Scintilla…and we (assumedly) know the remainder.
Owek Mining & Shipping (OM&S) operations in the Tarsine Desert are registered and licensed with the Administratum (in Pietro's name), and their annual equipment inspections (2) are on record with the Machine Cult as "satisfactory in all particulars". Of note: their license includes permit to purchase, store, and employ massive amounts of demolitions "as needed, for the collapse and closure of cavernous excavations deemed as hazardous to labor-gang safety." No other mining interest lists this permit. Also of note: the turnover rate of OM&S labor-gangs is six times that of competing mining interests in the same region, and the Administratum has levied numerous fines against OM&S for excessive work-related fatalities.
OM&S currently produces 1200-2100 tonnes of Aluminum Silicate (Kyanite) per month (30-day cycle). It is not known (at this time) if this is of any significance, though it is a valuable commodity (not overly so, which might explain the subdued social status of Lazarrine Owek on Malfi). Kyanite is used in the creation of the industrial compound mullite. Mullite is used to produce such products as high-voltage insulators, heat-resistant glass, heating elements, and inferior ceramite (such as that used in furnace workers' suits). OM&S has three Hephaestus-class Ore Seekers on site, gargantuan 40-meter cubes of racketing machinery carried across the sands on massive track units. Hephaestus-class are known for their integral production facilities, an enclosed loading hangar, and have an average crew of 30 (though particularly productive units may reach crews of 50-55). OM&S also operates five Halo Barges out of Tarsus' Industrial Spaceport Tertius (three primary and two reserve); the Halos ferry payloads, launching into low orbit where the Kyanite transfers to a customs warehouse for assessment (an Administratum export tariff), and the Halos then return to the "dig" sites. The Halos are fueled via Administratum-operated macro-haulers that run routes between the various mining interests.
Other minerals known to be mined/processed by the six other mining interests in the Tarsine Desert: calcium, zirconium, silicate minerals (such as feldspar and hematite), halite (rock salt), gypsum (alabaster), sulfur, pyrite (used in the production of sulfuric acid), and chert (a dark rock resembling flint but more akin to limestone, used in architecture for fascia). Destatte, Evee, and I can find no connection, other than feldspar (and that's too easy).
Of interest: OM&S has a fleet of four Duergar-class mineral conveyors sitting idle in extreme orbit, their docking fees paid throughout the remainder of this lunar year. (All Kyanite delivered to low orbit customs by OM&S [and other mining interests] is later removed for shipment via intra-system haulers, merchant traders, or other private entities. A lockdown of the OM&S docks is not possible at this time [an issue of manpower] but Destatte slipped erroneous rumors of narco smuggling into the customs data-link; they're not going anywhere [legally] until all of their pockets have been turned out.)
Administratum coffers swell as a result of export tariffs and fuel excise taxes imposed on all mining interests in the Tarsine Desert. There is a lot of money at stake here, and I think it's being used as a distraction. But it still begs the question: With this much money on the line, why does Liopressa Ur send manicured thugs to squeeze Mag for a paltry one thousand Scint? We're batting zero on this. And the vitae.
Be prepared to offer your personal theories.
OM&S has just opened their recruiting office for a new rota of labor-gangs. Anyone know anything about mining, its associated machinery or its processes? This could be turned to our advantage; infiltration, espionage, etc.
Hard Link Message, Originating OM&S7, Hardpan, Tarsine Desert, Received
Reply, Via Astropathic Planetary, Destination Administratum Warehouses, Tarsus, Received
Transmit Reply, Via Hard Link, Destination Administratum Macro-Hauler 082
Message Body (transmition begins)
+++By the God-Emperor's Grace,
Gaius, I have with interest read your revelation of events to date.
First, accept this "soft copy" credential packet (a sort of "fax" copy of Auditor Identification). It is valid in all particulars; a "hard copy", including a Warrant (badge) of Office, will be provided as a permanent replacement once your investigation into the site of OM&S7 terminates (from here onward to be referred to as 'Audit 1c') and you have returned to Sibellus. Your new, official title is Auditor Censurist (Tertius). Your primary purview is the "lock down" of sensitive information, particularly when operating in the field. While it is the least influential of three related offices (being lower in rank than Revisionists and Redactors), it is nonetheless vital. With this Warrant you may, as can Peace, invoke the Authority of the God-Emperor's Holy Inquisition as my proxy. (Some "field" advice: Invoking this Authority in the middle of some Emperor-forsaken desert is the perfect setting to "lift the veil"; subtlety is preferred. Bandied about too often, too publicly, this Authority becomes diluted.)
Second order of business: OM&S is officially disolved. As the business registration is (was) in Pietro Ur's name, and as Pietro Ur is deceased without a declarative heir (or heiress), OM&S will be dismantled and parceled by the Court of Lords and Ladies, Malfi. All OM&S financials have been locked. Liopressa Lazarrine Owek-Ur (as we know her) has no legal claims to OM&S. New details have come to light regarding the true identity of Lazarrine Owek, invalidating any and all previous claims.
As a result, all OM&S employees are to be detained and interrogated. The depth of their guilt will be decided by others, but we must know who is complicit and the extent of their knowledge. Leave no root unearthed. This will be a burdensome, lengthy task, I know, but one that needs doing. A Macro-Hauler has been commissioned as a penal transport; all detainees, once interrogated, are to be turned over to representatives of the Adeptus Arbites for incarceration, their trials to be scheduled at a later time (from this, thankfully, you may be excused). I expect this business to take a week, perhaps a bit longer.
Third order of business: The person (or persons) you hunt is not; I repeat, not; Lazarrine Owek. Without positive identification, we run the risk of losing our quarry; she could simply vanish. Everything we can learn about her habits, demeanor, accomplices, consorts, clients…anything…we need as much as you can find. What we know at this moment paints a portrait of focused, single-minded ruthlessness, a consorter of aliens, xenophile, and a heretic of the highest order, but we need more. We need her motives, and we need her agenda. If you were here I'd open what files I have available, but you are not, and transmitting such information is unthinkable.
The 'Acquisition of Identity' file is to be referred to as 'Audit 1a'.
Fourth order of business; the Xenos. Definitely Eldar. An enigmatic breed of starfarers, a dying race, manipulators, with matchless grace, and quite capricious. I shared what details you presented with Evee; she indicated her unfamiliarity with the particular "clan" you have encountered. She recommends incinerating the corpses and any gear they possessed. The alien grav-transport is to be secured for return to Sibellus (Gaius, I understand it will be difficult to "hide"…simply do what you must to keep it under wraps, and know that I will back you 100% should an incident occur).
I understand human nature. We are a curious, inquisitive (pardon the pun) specie. Sometimes when we have been shown the sky, we must then see what lies beyond the clouds. But I must warn you; everything that flies may crash. Do not let yourselves be tempted by the xeno-tech. It is foul, an abomination that mocks the pure form of Mankind. Rather, Evee recommends you locate a stock of Detox, or perhaps Pan-Immune.
Lastly: I will honor the financial agreement entered into with the Irascor Lodge. I pray to the God-Emperor you may catch this mystery wretch. And I will pray for all of you.
All things in shadow and darkness are revealed in His light. Carry that light for Him, and He is with you.
Inquisitor Calliope, Ordo Hereticus+++
Hard Link Message, Originating OM&S7, Hardpan, Tarsine Dessert, Received
Reply, Via Astropathic Planetary, Destination Adeptus Arbites Judiciary Precinct, Tarsus, Received
Transmit Reply, Via Hard Link, Destination Adeptus Arbites Commission Macro-Hauler (Penal), Auth. Code 771
Message body (transmission begins)
+++Honour in Life, Duty in Death.
Myrchella Cinderfell? Great Emperor's toothbrush!
Blessed be the gifts He bestows upon us,
Inquisitor Calliope, Ordo Hereticus+++
Hard Link Message, Official Declaration of Order, Originating Adeptus Arbites Judiciary Precinct, Tarsus
Transmit, Via Hard Link, Destination Adeptus Arbites Commision Macro-Hauler (Penal), Inq. Auth. Azure
Transmit, Via Astropathic Planetary, Destination ---RECEIVED---, Inq. Auth. ---SUFFICIENT---
Message Body (message begins)
+++Though the path of the Righteous is paved with fire, the Emperor safely guides each step.
Auditor Cell 1 (Auditor-Exculpator Peace, Acting Prime),
OM&S Halos 1, 2, 4, and 5 have been taken into custody at various low anchor repair docks. Interrogation of the pilots revealed they each had received "soft" transmissions (via long-range vox-caster) instructing them to open emergency protocol packets, follow the enclosed instructions, and await further orders in silence and anonymity (several pilots believed their instructions to be pre-planned arrangement for use in the event of a mining-merchant war…which is not an uncommon occurrence). Halos 2 and 4 dusted from Tarsus Industrial Spaceport Tertius; they were empty (aside from crew). Halos 1 and 5 dusted from two other OM&S sites within the Tarsine Dessert; they were carrying legitimate kyanite payloads.
Halo3 nearly shook our search. The dessert heat makes it nearly impossibly to track the engine wake of a payload transport, even one of such size as the Halo. However, there is limited industrial activity in that region, and we caught a break on the density of its exhaust pollutants (meaning we owe the Scintillan AdMech a favor…). Given the (estimated) direction of travel and its fuel capacity, Halo3 will likely touch down within the next 8 hours at Tarsus Port (something of a misnomer, considering its distance from Tarsus). Tarsus Port is south-west, approximately 4200 kilometers from your current location (OM&S7). A pilot has been hired to take the Decerno out to OM&S7; it should arrive a little more than an hour from now. The pilot will catch a ride back to Tarsus with the penal Hauler. Take the remaining Irascor Lodgers with you, if you can convince them. Once you've dusted, it'll take you just over five hours to arrive at Tarsus Port, almost two hours ahead of Halo3.
(By the by; I appreciate you opting for a private hangar for the Decerno.)
The crew of Halo3 are most likely specialists, rather than your run-of-the-mill industrial pilots. Based on Auditor Borba's account, Halo3 is carrying capacity cargo, so there cant be more than two crew and one or two passengers. I want…their cargo…but I also want Myrchella. You want her as well, I'm sure. It's not often I give a direct order…
Whatever her plans, whatever her agenda, it all unravels if Myrchella is dead. I can turn Ordo Xenos onto her pale clients, the Adeptus Arbites and Scintillan Magistratum can wrap up the hired criminal scum. The Court of Lords and Ladies, Malfi, can disperse OM&S. We, Auditors, are of Ordo Hereticus, and Myrchella Cinderfell has been out for far too long.
Berth the Decerno, stake out the landing aprons of Tarsus Port (there are two clusters: overland and coastal), follow the cargo. Surely, Myrchella won't abandon her prize? You may need to think quickly, improvise, but stay on the trail of that cargo…it's either going to her, or she's coming to it. (A thought does occur: she has been known to eighty-six on a whim; if you think you've pressed the trail too long without being scuppered and she hasn't shown her hand, take the cargo and its caretakers into custody and return directly to The Roost.)
Gaius, the Xenos grav-transport will be secure with the Adeptus Arbites, but get a signed receipt for their temporary custody of it. And I'm issuing another direct: kill the Xenos prisoner, and incenerate her corpse and gear. The chance for deception and moral corruption are too great to continue custodianship, and she'll only act as an anchor during your pursuit.
Regarding the matter of Oeric Vatka: Disposition Pending/Use Discretion.
To all Auditors of Cell 1: If given the opportunity, terminate Myrchella Cinderfell.
By the God-Emperor's Grace, by my Authority and Sealed this day, 022.817.M41 (Official Order Declared)
Inquisitor M. Calliope, Ordo Hereticus, Sibellus, Scintilla, Calixis+++
…fzzzt Is thi… fzzzt…
…fzzzt… Is this thing on?
A prominent member of the Deputy Advisors Chancellery of the Lucid Court invites me to a dinner (which you attended in my stead) and discretely asks for "a favor of utmost delicacy and personal concern"… Something is rotten on Klybo. One need not wonder why he repeatedly referred to the virtues of discretion. Daughter, indeed! Did he think you'd fail to bobble the puzzle into focus?
Those three numb-skulls you rustled have dropped a fairly big name. Lurid Kalpos Sloathe may not be the biggest sump rat in Sibellus, but he has displayed a certain "untouchable" quality. His predecessor, Armand Cadsworth Sloathe (yes, related) was only imprisoned on the merits of a niggling technicality involving licensing taxes. Lurid learned from a veritable master of his trade, so it comes as no surprise his hands are never the least bit red.
And, if this leads anywhere near the scandalous revelation I suspect (namely Lurid Sloathe having Lord Cziza Plorp neatly tucked in his pocket), we'll be standing in feces so deep that Lord Plorp's Medi-Chair will seem as a bouquet of shamroses by comparison.
Destatte suggests… fzzzt…
Dorn's codpiece! What is the matter with this thing!?
Ah, yes. There we have it working.
If possible, arrange a meeting with Sloathe. At this point I think subtlety and discretion are out of the question. Take the remainder of the Cell with you, but this isn't an aggressive petition. We're not threatening anyone, we just need information. Be up front; ask him who's on the plot concerning Cassie Plorp, and why. I will not enter into an agreement of any proportion with Sloathe in exchange for the information; he either coughs the gobbet, or not.
Watch yourselves, my dears. The pebble has dropped, and the ripples have yet to reach our shore.
Men must die so that Man may live,
As Mentress-Auditor of the Bastion's Auditoria, I was insulated from the damnable politics of the wider Inquisition. Before that, as a field Inquisitor, I did the Emperor's work, for the Emperor's glory, and I did it many times without aid or approval of my superiors, but always with the results justifying my moral convictions. Perhaps I am too old for this work, perhaps I am just too inflexibly set in my convictions, or perhaps they "do things" differently in the Scarus Sector. Perhaps I am being naive. This shadow-play of politics is (I'm loathe to admit) beyond my ken.
Destatte will navigate this morass in my stead; I will trust to his judgment. If he says we must sacrifice the wall rodent now for the sink rat later, so be it. However, know this: I will never sell you to the pillory.
Senior Interrogator Vatka has a name for you: Malden Vitrioli, the Largess Dynasty Seneschal. If you seek passage upon the Duke Largess, he is the man with whom you must speak. No passenger, no cargo are taken aboard without his approval.
The remainder I will leave for Destatte to relate. May the Emperor watch over you, my dears.
Yes. Well, then…
The Duke Largess is due to slip its moors in 19 hours.
You can have no idea what it must entail to arrange the clandestine delivery of an Eldar grav-craft for transport to an Imperial vessel, Rogue Trader or no. The Administratum tariff Assessors must smudge everything with their ink-stained digits, musn't they? Well, not this time. The grav-craft awaits your (Gaius's) loading permission in warehouse IX, bay IX. This is the precipice, the brink; if anything goes wrong here you shall not be alone. Four of my finest Investigators, disguised as Administratum warehouse jockeys (with blue coats, rather than green), will be on hand to aid in the transfer to the Duke, so if you are scuppered here you will, at the very least, have some back-up.
If you're waving an Eldar grav-craft in someone's face, you'd better have accommodations to match, eh?
Unfortunately, I have been able to procure only one private cabin (2-person accommodation), located amid-ship, upper tiers; it seems the Master of the Duke is planning a "tour" and doesn't wish to unnecessarilly crowd his first-tier passengers. Arrangements for the purchase of this passage was financed through the proceeds netted (thus far) from the auction of certain parcels of (the late) Pietro Ur's ware collection. The grav-craft "belongs" to Gaius, so he's cabin passenger 1…I shall leave passenger 2 for you to decide amongst yourselves.
This cabin includes two meals per day (above-average fare), including refreshments. There is also a weekly laundry and linen service provided, a communal suite facility (showers and latrines shared with 18 other cabin passengers) and a complimentary dinner with the Master of the Duke (scheduled for day 6). There are five cabin decks, each with 10 dual-occupancy cabins per deck (100 first-tier passengers at 4200 Throne per head).
An additional unfortunate turn had left all "commons" accommodations accounted for; we had to press for skalps (stolen "commons" boarding passes). The "commons" are located in the low decks of the Duke, forward of the main drive coils where they will be uncomfortably hot and dry, and they will be unmercifully crowded (400-600 passengers assigned to 1x2x3-meter cubicles…repurposed cargo pods, no doubt… that are stacked 30-40 meters high and achor-bolted to the bulkheads of a disused maintenance storage bay). There are at least twelve of these repurposed passenger "commons". The third-tier passenger count is 7200+. At least they're located at the interior, away from the freeze permeation of the void…
There are two skalps, plus the "commons" pass Gaius filched from the unfortunate S-Tooper at The Savoy. These accommodations include two meals per day (gresh…a spackle-like "meat"-potato-cheese stew, served with hardbread and recyk water). There is no laundry service, and linens are not provided to the "commons" passengers…those of you unfortunate enough to berth here may wish to purchase a woolen blanket (more for privacy) and perhaps a pillow. Latrine facilities here (such as they are) are vulnerably public, and there are no showers.
Yes. Well. On to the intinerary…
The Duke Largess is listed as making a run Rimward to Cyrus Vulpa, with intent to board 4000 head of live mature grox (Emperor forbid they mean to cohabit these with "commons" passengers…if you see fencing errected in the "commons" when you board, well, my apologies), then onward to Orbell Quill (no excursions registered, possibly a layover to purge and refill their cisterns). Do not volunteer for or accept an excursion to the surface of Orbell Quill. The final leg (of the registered transit) is to swing around the feral world of Dusk (from a circulated "travel brochure": "…the accursed feral world of Dusk, lair of the Hag-Witch…"; probably intended as an "Ooh! Aah!" spectacle for the "tourists"), with a reverse course return to Scintilla.
It seems Gaius may have been correct in suggesting the major players meet their workhorses at the midway for gewgaw showcasing and/or tranfers. Or Master Leopold Umbolt Largess is the "Imperial" face of the Quip Syndicate. Does this mean Master Ozrus Quip (whose vessel is the Antigones) and the Provenance Coil Overture step in the dirt for their treasures, or are they meeting mid-way from other worlds within the Sector? Keep this in mind during your investigations…
Now, a cautionary note:
Of you Auditors, Borba is the only one familiar with the rituals and hazards of the void; look to him for protocol guidance. Getting voided for a simple misunderstanding would be most unfortunate. Lifting from my personal experiences: prudently locate the nearest portable fire extinguishers, void suit lockers, and savior pod launches; it is unwise to open locked hatchways (security, fire or void being of primary concern); try to learn the ETT (Estimated Time of Translation) before eating.
I believe that is all I have…
Pardon? Oh. Yes. Of course.
The Emperor (hand flap) and all that…
Shame on you, Mattaeas!
Ozrus Quip is rumored to be a ruthless dynastic, not at all hesitant to get his hands bloody for his Warrant. I leave it to you how best to see him brought to Imperial justice.
I am concerned for your well being, and…
Well, you have had some of the best training available in the Callixis Sector, so I shouldn't worry myself. After all, you are professionals, quite competent. Your tenacity is tempered by your ability to focus on the broader consequences or your actions…or inaction.
Do me a favor?
Cardinal Ignato is to deliver another live reading of Drusus: The Sermons. Please, watch it.
As they used to say on Ancient Terra: Bon Voyage!
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