On Sacgrave, and getting permission from Cassius to acquire a guide, and tech support. Naturally, Jrska is doing the selecting. For a guide, she looks around for any obvious tourists - the one in somewhat singed Imperial finery - silk cravat, lace collar, long embroidered coat, and, of course, giant shoulderpads - looks ideal.
Jrska: Ah, the Imperium of Man, where your importance is determined by the size of your shoulderpads, and how much you cut off your own field of vision. No doubt the Emperor went around in a giant sombrero and blindfold.
Aladar van Rijn, it turns out, is a Rogue Trader who barely escaped with his skin when the authorities discovered his growing interest in forbidden commodities. He lost his entire fleet in the subsequent battle, and then his flagship when he fled to the Vortex and crashed on Sacgrave. Jrska has of course chosen him because he looks naive. She's right, but he swallows her flattery so completely that she starts to doubt her own judgement - maybe he really IS competent.
Jrska: After all, he goes around dressed like that and he hasn't been accosted yet. Maybe he actually can look after himself.
Aladar's choice of a showy ceremonial sword in a universe where half the noteworthy people carry power weapons may be evidence to the contrary. The nearest itinerant Heretek is easy to recruit as well, even if he refuses to give his name.
Jrska: Hi there cogboy, how would you like your very own starship engine to fondle?
Jrska: Just a cog in the great machine...
Cog: Not any more.
Of course, there's still the need to find the thousands of crew the Chains of Judgement will need. True, there's the cannibal tribe and their leader, Mother, but who is the mysterious Father?
Jrska: Does it really matter? There's probably a whole lineage. There's Great-Uncle, who rules the aft engine compartments... And Auntie Prunella. Nobody talk about her. Nobody.
Ensuring Aladar and Cog's loyalty - to herself - and simultaneously making herself indispensable to Cassius.
Jrska: Lord Cassius is supremely generous to those who pledge their loyalty to him. Of course, he demands the very best from his minions, and it is my duty to ensure that you do not waste his time. So impress me and I'll put in the good word.
Cassius' player: .... Wow.
Off to one of the many wrecks on Sacgrave, where we have been told the Tyrant's Cord may be found. Things to avoid en route - the many Dark Eldar amusing themselves at the fighting pits, buying slaves, etc, and the mutant inhabitants of the ruins beyond the settlement. Although the latter may be useful as material components of Cassius' prognostications.
Jrska: Try not to attract their attention.
Cog: Don't piss off the Dark Eldar.
Cassius: Good advice for any Eldar.
Jrska: Well, the Light Eldar are less likely to torture you to death.
GM: ... Perhaps.
Jrska: The Light Eldar will kill you. The Dark Eldar will kill you - eventually.
Jrska: Hello mutants! Small, poorly defended party here! Easy pickings!
Somewhat suspiciously, Garath's crashed ship has not been stripped and salvaged yet. That might be because the shipyards of Q'sal are infamous for welding technology and demonology.
Jrska: Imperial ships run on AC. Q'sal ships run on DC - Demon Current.
Most of the crew appear to have survived the crash - and then, annoyingly, something went through the survivors like a chainsword through soft cheese. This something included at least one space marine, judging by the assorted human wreckage. We'll have to go back to the Whispering Halls, to see if anybody saw the thieves returning. And, of course, to eat, socialise, drink, etc.
Me: This being the Imperium, the potato is probably extinct and replaced by the Vampire Squash
Cog: Has anything big and nasty arrived recently?
Jrska: Apart from Rold Dundee?
Somewhat frustratingly, everybody seems too scared of retribution to identify the perps we're pursuing. Not unreasonable of them, so Jrska reasonably resorts to dragging a random pedestrian into an alleyway and torturing the information out of them. It's not much, but the antagonists include TWO space marines, a heretek, and a witch. Jrska turns the victim loose, still mostly intact.
Jrska: Don't worry about that, it'll work its way out in a couple of days.
The local liege promises us information if we deal with a small mutant problem he's having. Cassius' solution is to offer them employment, and eventual revenge. Jrksa checks off one item in her Corrupt Cassius mental checklist - Recruit Mutant Army. The liege does not, in fact, have much useful information - earning him a place at the top of Cassius' own mental list of People More Useful Dead - but a poke around the slave markets does turn up a few survivors of Garath's crew, going cheap due to their sorry state. They're reluctant to have anything to do with us or their attackers, but Jrska talks them around.
Jrska : I'm sure you'll be useful to my Master one way another - perhaps in his rituals.
As intended, they assume she means human sacrifice, and suddenly fall over themselves to be helpful. All Cassius actually needs are names to focus his precognition.
Cassius: I'm not about unnecessary cruelty.
Cog: You said that with a straight face. I'm impressed.
Cassius enacts his divinations, and Jrska is targeted by a Dark Eldar looking for someone to humiliate.
GM: As long as you keep grovelling, he's going to keep demeaning you.
Jrska: Don't knock it til you've tried it, sweety.
Jrska keeps the Eldar distracted by a fine display of cringing, long enough for Aladar to figure out what she's doing, and shoot the alien in the back of the head. Of course, since his choice of weapon is a pretty, but pretty feeble , laspistol, the ensuing melee comes as something of a surprise. Nonetheless, they triumph, and the Eldar's Agoniser sword and Lacerator pistol are claimed as trophies.
Jrska: *giving Aladar her very best leer* Remind me to show you how grateful I am, later.
Aladar van Rijn: 8-(
And off to the Vaults, in the hope of getting ahead of our enemies and setting up a high explosive ambush. Aladar's experience as a starship commander proves unhelpful.
Me: Despite them both being dark, you can't use 'Navigation : Space' underground