I like all those examples. but how bout the schmoozing nobles part? any advice on this objective?
That can be tricky, but a lot will depend on the composition of your crew / Lord captain and the contacts they've made… but here's one:
The RT's ship is in orbit of a planet for repairs and resupply and he and his command crew are invited to dine and stay with the planetary Governor for the two weeks the repairs will take. They begin to spread the word about their colonisation project in the hopes that some of the nobles will help fund it. During this time, they befriend a noble who seems very interested in funding their expedition. He does, however, make a request: they he be installed as planetary goveror of the new colony. After some condieration, the characters agree to let him rule in the Captain's absence.
Perhaps the character is simply unpopular at court, or ambitious, and sees the RT as a way to make a fresh start or climb to a better position. Either way, he makes good on his offer and provides either the ships or the money for these ships. Once they have the ships and the project is well under way, rumours begin to circulate about some of this noble's practices. Some suggest he has traffick with Xenos, others that he is a Heretic. It could be he is just depraved. The truth is far worse; the noble is a rogue psyker? a chaos cult leader? A demonhost? (Then again, he could just be corrupt in a more mundane sort of way: he takes bribes, works with criminal organisations, smugglers, etc.). Whatever the case, the real reason he is so eager to fund the project is that he is trying to escape his current situation.
It is likely the PCs do not know about their benefactor's secret motivation. However, how will they react when they discover this? Will they take the money and ships and try to handle the problem 'in house' after they've obtained what they want, or will they turn him to the proper authorities, potentially throwing away whatever ressources he offers?
Anyhow, good luck!
PS:,Consider other groups with ships and/or money who might be interested in such a venture: the Imperial Navy, Chartist Captains, Navigator Houses, Ecclesiarchy, etc. Also, it is possible that, in their travels, the Rt could simply find and salvage a suitable ship(s) for their project.