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Cynical Cat

Inherit the Stars

37 posts in this topic

The Mustarios household troopers stood aside and let Alyss Magellos into the captain's office. Paul Mustarios was seated behind the polished oak desk. The place was decorated with a restrained hand and the shelves that lined the walls were mostly empty, waiting to be filled. He does not feel the need to overawe with wealth, thought Alyss. Instead he displays his taste and his ambition for those wise enough to perceive it. "My lord captain," she said with a slight bow.

"My lady Navigator. Please make yourself comfortable. May I offer you some refreshment?"

"No thank you, my lord captain." Her sight beyond sight caused her to turn her head to the left. Leaning against the corner, shrouded and shadow and out of the sight lines of any that would enter the room was a whipcord lean young woman.

She pretended to ignore the bodyguard. Both of them knew the realities of high politics. "My lord, I have come regarding a matter of some concern for my fellows." She clasped her hands on the back of one of the chairs. Sitting would be the action of a supplicant.

"Please continue," said Paul Mustarios.

"The course of the ship has been sent without consultation of the ship's Navigators. That is both unwise and against custom."

"My apologies," said Paul Mustarios. "I have sent several requests to consult with the senior among you, but I have met with no response."

**** Tiberius to Khorne's bloodiest hell, Alyss thought angrily. "We have been occupied with settling in," she said calmly. "I apologize for any perceived rudeness. There must have been some confusion on the part of the servants. In the future a notice that directly mentions setting a course will elicit an immediate response."

"Thank you," said Paul. "I'll keep that in mind. Having said that, do you and your colleagues have an opinion on our course?"

"We believe it to be low risk and well within our capabilities," she replied. "If it is your desire, we shall guide the ship through the warp to Turibia."

"Excellent," said Paul with a broad smile. "Please keep me informed of all information and real space course work you require so that I can see that your needs are fulfilled."

"Thank you captain. Our retainers will be in touch. I hope we have a long and convivial relationship."

"As do I," said Paul as he rose from the desk. He stepped around the desk and raised her hand to his lips and kissed it. She blinked with surprise at being the object of the ancient courtesy. Navigators were crucial for the Imperium, but they were still mutants and thus unclean. For a mundane not in the service of a house to deliberate touch one was almost unheard of. "If there is anything I can do for you and your colleagues, please let me know."

"Thank you captain," she said, recovering her composure. "You are most kind. With your leave I will depart."

"You have it," said Paul. Her skirts swished as she turned and left. The door closed automatically behind her.

"We need to know what is going on among their ranks," he said, his voice as cold and deadly as space.

"A spy will be impossible," replied Dawning. "Tech sorcery will be questionable."

"For now maybe," said Paul, "but it will be done, one way or the other. Consider that your priority."

"Your will, my lord captain."

-

Soloman Kridge wasn't tall, but he was a big, big man and while he carried a little too much around his waist most of his mass was muscle, bone, and gristle. He was used to casually intimidating men, but the cook's assistant who was maybe two-thirds his size was either oblivious or unimpressed. "Sorry. Can't do it?"

"Did you just 'can't' me boy?" Soloman growled. "I didn't think you were that dumb."

"Sorry petty officer," the smaller man repeated, "the scraps from the officer's tables are already spoken for. The head cook has an arrangement." And the muscle to back it up went unspoken.

"Bloody hell," Soloman swore. "You think I'm going to take this lying down?"

"Nothing I can do about it," said the younger man.

Kridge punched the wall in frustration, with almost enough force to injure something. He turned and stomped away from the junior officer's mess, grumbling as he went. Back in his bunk room he found Tekton playing dice. He grumbled and sat down on his bunk. Tekton finished a few more rounds and then gave up the dice to another player. He trundled over to Kridge.

They were an odd pair. Mauricio Tekton was a tall, lean voidborn spacer with almost no body hair and a stretched out looking body. A thin layer of dark hair lay on the top of his head and beady eyes looked out over a pointed nose. Kridge was shorter, stocky, and blessed with abundant body hair and perpetual stubble. They had taken to each other immediately because while they barely knew each other, they knew the type.

"How'd it go?" asked Tekton.

"Officers spoken for," glowered Kridge. "No joy."

"Crew mess," said Tekton. "Almost anything will do for juice if you treat it right. Cut the lightning with water and a little juice drink and we have a concern."

"Still need cooperation in the kitchen."

"We work the gambling thing, we get more cash. Recruit a likely lad or two from your detail and we've got muscle. Find a spot?"

"Yeah. Equipment locker. We break the door, transfer the tools to another locker, and the closet never quite gets fixed right. Set the still up in there."

"Sounds like we're about to be in business."

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"All systems ready," said junior lieutenant Stall Olefsson. He was space tall and spacer lean with pale skin and a shock of blond hair.

"We await your word, my lord captain."

Paul Mustarios leaned forward slightly. "Our status magos?" he asked, looking to his left.

The red robed techpriest emitted a staticky burst of binary. "All machine spirits active and obedient. All systems ready on your command."

"Signal docking control that we will begin to depart," said Captain Paul Mustarios. "Power to main engines and maneuvering thrusters, but no burn."

"Aye, aye captain," said a young ensign. "Main engine and maneuvering systems are hot, standing by for burn."

"Lines have disconnected, gantries are uncoupled," said the techpriest. Time seemed to stretch out. "Gantries retracting."

There was another short eternity. "Permission to depart granted," said a Ensign Catecal.

"Helm, maneuvering thrusters only, one quarter gee burn for four seconds. Take us out."

The Lord Gregor slowly coasted forward. The sides of the construction cradle slowly slid by. Observation galleries were packed with watchers as the the grand cruiser began to inch toward the void.

"Status?" asked Mustarios.

"All green lights," said Olefsson. "Course is steady and holding."

"Second maneuvering thruster burn," ordered Mustarios. "One half gee, four seconds."

The Lord Gregor picked up speed. Her adamantium prow nudged into open space.

"Open void," Ignacius Cole said soflty. He was standing just behind the captain's throne. Then, louder. "We have touched free space captain."

"I see it Mister Cole," said Paul. "And it is beautiful."

"We are drifting slightly to starboard," said Oleffson. "Zero point zero one meters per second."

"Helm, correction burn," ordered Paul. "Schedule the maneuvering thrusters for a full check."There was a brief puff of flame from the starboard thrusters to correct the drift as the Lord Gregor continued into open space. "Take us on to our departure path, maneuvering thrusters only. When we're fifteen kilometers from the dock, light the main drive at one tenth power until we're a safe distance away."

Cole put his hand on Paul's shoulder. "Well done captain."

"Thank you flag lieutenant," said Paul. "In the future, do not take liberties with my person."

"My apologies, my lord captain," said Ignacius as he retraced his hand. "It was the heat of the moment."

"Apology accepted," said Paul.

"But don't forget again," Sybel Dawning whispered in Cole's ear.

-
"Huh," grunted Soloman Kridge. "So you're the fresh body?"

"Yes petty officer," said Lyda Sharp. She a touch on the short side and on the compact side, but not in a bad way in Kridge's opinion. There were grease marks on her overalls and hands. Some girls thought they could skip the nastiest work because they looked good. Those ones paid for it, but not in coin.

"You're not a spacer."

"No sir, not before-"

"I'm not a sir."

"Sorry petty officer. What I meant is that I'm not a spacer. But I do know tech systems. I had lay Mechanicus training and worked on maintenance and repair of hive systems back on Terra."

"Huh," said Kridge. "Handy. Worked with high power lines before?"

"Yes petty officer."

"Good. Introduce yourself to the rest of the boys and I'll walk you through what we usually do on our shift. Mostly inspection and preventative maintenance for now, but once this old girl gets into a few fights or bumped by 'roids and so on, then our work really begins."

"I understand petty officer?"

"Smoke?" he said, offering out a pack of lho sticks.
"No thanks," she said.

"Suit yourself," he said, hiding his disappointment. He took stick and put it in his mouth. A few flicks of a lighter and he was inhaling the rich smoke. "Alright then. Let's get started."

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The Lord Gregor cruised through the Sol System on the course approved by traffic control. At any given point a half dozen weapon systems and a dozen sensor antennas were pointed at the grand cruiser as she made her stately voyage. After nearly two days of travel the ship reached the appointed place and vanished in a flare of a thousand colours as it entered the Immaterium.

The Lord Gregor swam through the warp with massive shutters blocking her view ports and windows. The crew and officers went about their business as usual, finding what worked and fixing that which didn't. This was a shakedown cruiser and the Lord Gregor was a brand new vessel. A few surprises were inevitable.

There was one exception, of course. In a chamber near the bridge, Japhel Magellos was enthroned in a crystalline dome. Hexagrammic wards laid into the crystal helped keep the worst of the warp at bay as the Navigator's third eye, a smooth orb of absolute dark, gazed into insanity. Insanity gazed back at him.

It was Japhel's job to derive order and meaning from the rolling chaos that churned outside the Lord Gregor's Gellar Fields. Lines and feeds connected his flesh, nourishing him, removing his waste, and keeping him awake as he steered the ship through hell.

Behind him shone the Astronomicon, almost blindingly bright. There was no question of his course or direction. The Lord Gregor was a powerful ship, easily pushing through the tides of the warp as she flew towards her goal. The warp was perhaps more turbulent and discordant than normal, but that wasn't too unusual.

Time flows in deceptive ways in the warp. It was hard to say how long it took, but soon the Lord Gregor entered a more turbulent passage. The ship was occasionally shaken by a great buffet, but there was nothing here with the force to seriously threaten the ship and Japhel was able to see most of the the most energetic eddies in time to steer the ship out of the way.

-

Soloman gently slapped the burly rating in the face. "Turk, Turk, Turk. What I am going to do with you? You owe and yet you don't pay."

The rating slipped back from the crew chief, retreating deeper into the storage room. "Sorry, sorry. Look, I'm just a bit short. I'll make it up to you."

"The rest of you, take a hike," said Maurico Tekton. He was cleaning his nails with twenty centimeters worth of knife. The other two ratings took on look at the two veteran spacers and left.

"Kridge, look, I would never cheat you."

"I know you wouldn't," said Kridge gently. "But I can't let a man simply not pay me when he owes. So you're going to have to make it up to me."

"Sure, sure. Anything."

"Good. Now since you load cargo, you're going to help me get a little bite. Not big enough to notice and not big enough for someone in the upper levels to care, but just a little that fell off the shuttle. Understand?"

"But if they find out-"

"Then you had better be sneaky, eh?"

"Uh, yeah. Whatever you say."

"Good boy. By the way, you're just a deck hand and I'm a petty officer. Your word against mind if this goes to security. Nothing will happen to me, but you, you will have an accident if it does. A really bad accident."

"I understand."

"Good," said Kridge. He lightly slapped the rating's face. "I'm glad we understand each other."

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Hey keep writing man im really liking this, its really well written and actually not cheasy unlike most 40k fan fiction.  Good characters and a great description of the setting have really some together in this story please keepo it up

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I think that this is by far the best Rogu Trader fiction I have read yet.  I am hooked.  Great job.

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Sadly, I think this is a dead thread.  Pity.  Cynical Cat's stuff is quite good...

Jhaeyde, you may want to check out Cynical Cat's efforts in the Dark Heresy fanfic section as well.  It's worth a read, and that story has updated recently.

Cheers,

- V.

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