Not for the first time, Naamah thought the Rogue Trader that commandeered the Rigged Fortune was a particularly hilarious mon-keigh. His name was Sobryn Nykerion, one of the scions of a wealthy aristocratic house from Gudrun, and considered himself one of the cleverest bastards to sail the galaxy. Rogue Traders weren't often in the habit of taking slaves and studying artifacts whose essence resonated with the Sha'eil and Nykerion's recent application of such methods had elevated him -- at least in his mind -- to decidedly dastardly status. Naamah knew, of course, that Nykerion paled in comparison to the Eladrith Ynneas of Commorragh, something that showed itself in the small smile that played around her blood-red lips. Not that Nykerion noticed; he was far too preoccupied with the signal.
They were aboard the Rigged Fortune's bridge. The Rogue Trader was animatedly talking with his Navigator and most of the upper echelon of the crew about their new destination, crowded around a console and holo-caster, and Naamah watched from an appropriate distance, her tall, otherworldly form shrouded mostly in shadow as she leaned against one of the bridge's solid adamantium walls. That didn't stop the glances of course -- both senior and junior crew members couldn't help themselves, occasionally risking a peek at the scantily-clad she-devil that served as the ship's Mistress of Arms. Most of them probably hadn't been intimate with a woman in months, and certainly not one that both terrified and excited them at the same time. Too bad for them, then, that Naamah only slept with Sobryn Nykerion. Her appointment to Mistress of Arms had been challenged by some of the more senior mon-keigh armsmen aboard the vessel. Using xenos as slaves was one thing, but putting them in a position of power? Especially one as vile as a Dark Eldar? Highly questionable, at least... but Nykerion was powerless to resist against once Naamah had lured him into bed and shown him pain and pleasures he had only dreamed of before. It had been altogether too easy; Naamah didn't even have to kill anyone to attain this position within the mon-keigh kabal. She smiled again at the thought.
Her pointed ears could easily make out of the conversation, of course, and despite the respectful distance she kept from the hushed conversation between the Rogue Trader and his navigational crew and closest advisers, she knew exactly what was going on. A Space Hulk had emerged from the Warp and started emitting a signal, and now these children wanted to explore. The thought didn't give Naamah much joy, to be honest, as she held a deep disdain for anything related to the Warp and its hellish denizens. Psykers, especially. And who knows what other types of attention that kind of signal would attract? It seemed so risky. Then again, Naamah remembered, mon-keigh were apt to dive into far more danger than reasonable whenever the opportunity presented itself. They were not like the Eldar, cool, calculating, always three steps ahead. Hot-headed, passionate, brash, that was the human way. And truth be told, that was exactly what made them so entertaining.
Naamah watched as the congregation was dismissed and Nykerion turned his gaze towards her, beckoning. She approached, her face inscrutable and her body swaying gently this way and that in rhythm with the cadence of her long legs. "Yes, master?" she asked in heavily accented Low Gothic as she sat down on the console next to Nykerion.
She could see the lust in his eyes, ever-present, but the Rogue Trader steeled himself. "Ready the men at arms. We've detected a Space Hulk that recently arrived in the sector -- it's sending out a signal that our astropaths picked up. We don't know why... but I want to investigate. Perhaps it holds the answers to these cursed relics. All this death and madness aboard my ship can't be for nothing," Sobryn Nykerion said, looking up at the inhumanly elegant face of his consort; even when seated, Naamah was taller than him.
What do you hope to find? Naamah thought, but her mouth merely acquiesced in a smile. She left the bridge and stalked down to the lower levels, calling over the comms for the ship's militia to gather in the hangar. She knew the men didn't trust her. Many of them were ex-Imperial Guard, and not even turning away from the Emperor's light is enough to undo decades of conditioning against xenos -- but they knew the price of refusing her command. Naamah felt goosebumps on her skin at the memory of dismembering the last man to speak out against her. While walking she paused every so often to peek into the ventilation shafts, hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever it was that remained within the dark corners of the ship that was abducting members of the crew, but she saw nothing. It was technically her job to guarantee the safety of all the crew on board, but the matter of the Gretchin infestation had only irritated her greatly.
In passing, she saw the Tau being escorted to the chamber where the relics were kept. Remarkable creature. Naamah made sure to keep her distance from that part of the ship, wanting no part of the madness that was afflicting the slaves Nykerion 'employed' for research. She already suspected the cause -- but what was the fun in telling the Rogue Trader herself?
She reached the hangar before most of the men at arms, who had to flock to her call from all over the ship's rooms and corridors on legs that were decidedly shorter than hers. Naamah made herself comfortable on top of a toolbox, sending the nearby engineers shuffling away in fear, and waited with her arms crossed. In groups, pairs, or one by one, the men at arms of the Rigged Fortune appeared and assembled before her in a miserable excuse for a formation. Her dark eyes fell on one particular, the filthy one whose uniform looked like it was looted together from a hundred different corpses, and frowned. She could not imagine being content while looking like that. Where was the mon-keigh's pride? On top of that, she didn't like the glassed-out look on his face. In Commorragh, drugs were supposed to elevate one's senses and awareness, not dull them. And this armsman looked decidedly dulled.
Once they were all assembled, Naamah rose to her feet, staring down on the expectant faces -- many of whom turned away from her gaze -- of the soldiers, wasters and mercenaries (including one solitary Kroot) that stood before her and cleared her throat. "A ship has been detected. Rogue Trader Nykerio wishes to investigate it. You know what to do," Naamah said, her voice high and cold. No words of encouragement could be expected from her. She considered divulging the rest of the information -- that it was a Space Hulk, that a Warp-signal had been detected, that she absolutely did not know what to expect -- but decided against it. Would it not be more fun for them to discover that for themselves? Naamah could already imagine the fear and the confusion, and her eldritch soul salivated at the thought.
Upon realizing that this was the extent of the briefing they were to receive, the men at arms set about preparing themselves and the shuttles.