chapter 4: the good news and the bad news.
The cobra class destroyer exited warp along the outskirts of the lathe system. even from here the massive stations were visible. Blade had only been here once, but it was still amazing. the Vox burst to life as it picked up different transmissions, none of them understandable. "Sir, we are being hailed. system defense wants our registry and purpose for being here." reported the vox officer. "Record. we are dropping off the rogue trader Thomas Austin to take possession of the tyrant class cruiser Trader's Fortune. permission to continue in system? attach the registry and transmit." the captain responded. "aye sir!" the young officer bent to his task and moments later instructed the captain they were cleared to move in system. Blade tried to maintain his composer while they moved past the different stations and shipyards. the tiny cobra a minnow among leviathans. finally they started to approach the deadly form of an imperial cruiser.
"well Lord captain, there she is." the captain said with envy in his voice.
Blade was transfixed. "yes there she is." he replied softly. this was his. this massive vessel.
"OOOOOO BOY!!!! look at that. a full mars broadside, backed up with a hecutor plasma battery and a sunhammer lance......NO a lance BATTERY!!! I love my new toys." exclaimed Ross from beside him.
"You know the airlock is still an option sir." Leah replied in a distracted voice, her heart not really in the comeback.
"Lord captain it has been a pleasure having aboard, at your convenience i will have you taken across to your ship." the captain said.
"Thank you captain. I'm not sure of the accommodations yet aboard the Fortune, but i would be honored if you and your senior staff would join me and my staff for a formal dinner this evening. It may only be space rations but....... I'll just have to see what condition the ship is in first." Blade responded
"we would be delighted to. you never know how a command will turn out until you actually get aboard." the captain replied and saluted
returning the salute, blade turned with his officers and headed for the boat bay. after being carried across Blade stepped off the guncutter and looked around. he had intentionally not told the ship he was arriving. the personnel were busy and professional, none seemed to be slacking on the job. he drew a few stray looks from the workers but none paid much attention to him or his companions. "Who in the twenty-three hells of iniquity are you?" shouted a hard eyed bay officer. "You are in the middle of my work area and slowing everything down. Well speak or are you for the Gun crew?"
Ross started forward his hand on his new bolt pistol. Blade grabbed his shoulder and held him back. the bay had gone quiet as the workers stopped working and many had picked up pipes and wrenches. looking around at the faces Blade spoke calmly. "I am Thomas "Blade" Austin, warrant holder of the Warrant of Trade of House Austin. you can call me Lord Captain....." he took a moment to examine the rank bars on the work uniform of the officer "lieutenant!" he looked around at the suddenly uncomfortable crewmen, then back at the LT who had turned several shades of grey. he started to speak but Blade held up a hand. "Your boat bay seems to be in excellent working order and you challenged strangers in a timely manner, my only complaint is your greeting to new arrivals. tone down the belligerence a bit. otherwise you preformed admirably. carry on." Blade turned and walked away from the shaking officer and headed for a passageway he hoped would carry him to the bridge.
The admiral seemed as good as his word. everywhere Blade looked he saw a professional crew. unlike many ships, there were no slackers and layabouts trying to dodge their crew bosses and officers. the crew seemed content. after a few wrong turns and several challenges Blade found the bridge. upon entering he was challenged. "Name, rating and purpose for being on the bridge?" a young midshipman asked as he entered.
"Blade Austin, Lord Captain, and....."
"CAPTAIN ON DECK!!!!" the young man bellowed snapping to attention. a wave of the same followed from him as the bridge crew stood and saluted.
"to take control of the ship." Blade finished. "As you were." he stated loudly. "From now on son, don't announce me unless it's a formal occasional. it's disruptive to the crew."
"Yes sir" he said sheepishly.
Blade turned as another officer came hurrying up to him. "Commander Young Sir. uh..... I'm the current ranking bridge officer."
"Understood. Commander Young, I have the bridge." Blade replied formally
"You have the bridge, Understood sir." Young responded.
Motioning him to follow blade started toward the command throne. Ross drifted off to the gunnery stations. and Leah followed him. "This is my executive officer Leah Cowel and that is my master gunner Ross Holt. Is the Enginseer Prime onboard?"
"yes sir. working on the drives i believe."
"have him informed that there is a formal dinner tonight. have the rest of the senior officers informed as well."
"yes sir." he responded as he scurried off.
arriving at the command throne Blade ran a finger down the arm, walking around it. admiring the fine craftsmanship. finally sitting down, it felt good, it felt right.
"Master of the vox, all hands transmission."
"Sir!! ALL HANDS NOW HEAR THIS!! ALL HANDS NOW HEAR THIS!!!"
"This is the Lord-captain speaking. i formally take charge and possession of this vessel in the name of house Austin. in the next few days we will be headed for Port Wander and Beyond. If you serve me well you will be rewarded. Remember your hard work brings glory to house Austin and the God Emperor,...... and to yourselves. emperor bless us all. that is all." Blade leaned back and smiled. this would be the start of a excellent career.