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Bakka Dockyards, Bakka Sector, Segementum Tempestus


The sound of sweat-slicked flesh, slowly being tenderised by every missed block of a servitor driven baton of wood, echoed most pleasantly around the personal combat-cage of Edmund Andamar.

In his own hand he held a stick of equal thickness and weight, the clack of wood-on-wood alighting in him a a 'rhythm of combat' – something he had always imagined the super humans of the Astartes, or veterans of the Militarum, must feel almost constantly – a grunt of temporary pain and a hiss of sharply taken breath signalled that he had let his mind wander once more, and paid a price that, had all been as real as possible, would have seen him dispatched even before his next voyage into the unknown.

“Halt combat protocol,” came words refined by years of the finest education, and then further years in His Imperial Navy, piercing eyes coolly watching the lobotomised training drones fall back into positions of neutral readiness; he had not lowered his own stave until he was certain of an unopposed exit from the cage.

Bare feet padded out of the confined space, the entire structure containing only enough room to house what come called 'the reaping zone', the area approximately about a person once they had engaged in close-quarters with another. Settings could be changed, things made more-or-less lethal, the reach and nature of his adversary warped for differing types of training, but it was always close and personal.

“Damn me, that is going to leave a bruise.”

While placing one hand idly over the place 'tween pelvis and floating rib where the servitors short-staff had struck, Edmund found a cloth and bowl of water awaiting him, mind focusing on breathing and his eyes taking in the expansive area of his quarters aboard his very own ship.

“I suppose I should be grateful,” he opined into the ether, wiping down his perspiring torso as he took another deep breath, “after all... this is the only decent thing you ever did for me, father.”

There next to the basin, framed in rare wood and protected behind thick-but-clear armaglass, was Edmund's very own Warrant of Trade. It did not look like much, that was for sure, a piece of weathered parchment that showed on its face the names of multiple generations of his family, his fathers being followed by the drying ink of his own, a document touched by the God-Emperors own hand and granting him power beyond the likes of many Imperial servants. Many had lived and died in possession of, or because of possession of such an artefact, and now Edmund was simply one more to bear the illustrious mantle of an Andamar Dynasty Rogue Trader.

In the glass he caught his own reflection; the patrician features of a noble-born scholar, matched correctly or no to the lean and wiry frame of a trained soldier, like a tightened coil of sinew but also of the very highest and expensive quality.

It was this visual aspect that was part of his sires hatred toward him, for he had wished for a warrior-son to succeed him, instead he had got an intellectual without the muscle that his father wished he possessed to back his brains up.

Yes, he was neither too tall nor too short, too heavy or too emaciated, too violent or too submissive – but he was something his four brothers were not, and that was his ownership of a spirit filled with wanderlust.

“Let us take another look at you then, my beauty,” he murmured as he buttoned up a naval-style shirt and jacket over his topless frame, the familiar mode of dress allowing him to relax as he watched the holo-schematic of his flagship rotate above a concealed projector within his personally designed desk, “there you are.

His Divine Purpose truly was a wonder of engineering, of Mechanicus know-how, and above all an icon of what vast amounts of wealth could construct in the Imperium. It still made him scratch his had to think that it was father who had configured her, using his own expertise and wealth of knowledge to made sure his heir (at least in the sense of a Trader) had a vessel capable of carrying him in safety even beyond the reaches of the known Imperium.

Still, something inside Edmund winced at the thought that all this – all the time, the coin, the blood and sweat driven into the ships very core – was all because Cornelius Andamar, the very man who had given half his genes to Edmund, was simply so he could be rid of the son he considered his largest embarrassment.

A sudden clang interrupted his otherwise fractured thoughts as he finished dressing, a comb running itself through his chestnut hair to complete his routine, a perfect side parting giving way to his annoyance at the repeating noise.

“Accept vox...” came his snapped order, “this is Andamar, what is it?”

“Forgive any intrusion milord,” answered an oddly sultry female voice, that of his Master of Vox - a woman who for the life of him he could not understand had actually volunteered for this, in spite of her intellect, looks and charm able to get her into most anywhere she pleased.

“That is quite alright Lin, what can I do for you?”

“All arrangements are complete lord, all supplies of materials, munitions and sustenance, are aboard and the ship is prepared to be on our way at your word.”

“Very good, please ask Mister Kurg to take us to the nearest Mandeville and await my order.”

“It shall be done milord, is there anything else?”

“Yes,” he answered, reaching down to lift a data-slate from his desk and into one white-gloved hand, “please ask our 'guests' to meet me in the Central Observation Dome, I would like to make sure we are all of one mind.”

There was a brief pause, a click, and the return of the disembodied voice.

“Confirmed, may our voyage be Emperor blessed.”

************




Dome Hex-19/25-K, commonly known as the Central Observation Dome, was placed as accurately as possible precisely mid-way between the prow of the Purpose and the stern of the great ship, being by far the largest and most cathedral-like structure outside of the religious sections of the vessel.

It was beneath the mighty dome that Edmund now walked, one hand sliding effortlessly along a gantry-way railing, while his other tapped out a staccato tune on the hilt of the sabre sheathed at his side.

From under the fringe of his peaked cap he took in his surroundings, everything within the ship almost as new to him as it would be to any of those he had requested to attend him presently, some having been aboard for longer and some for less time. The dome itself would no doubt be familiar territory to those he had picked up during the ships maiden outings, one person here and another there, it's rather luxurious interior able to hold a fully packed musical ball had he wished it! No, this time he simply strode past the lush couches, sections containing exotic flora from thousand worlds, and made his way to the central dais.

From here he could control most anything about the dome, from the night and day cycle to the quality of air that was breathed, all from the small lectern behind which he now stood and gazed heavenward at the stars.

The others would be here soon he knew, and with them the knowledge of where their next journeying would take them.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Erezrim
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One, eerie green laser broke the darkness of a crammed passageway, glaring out from beneath the heavy, white-gold, and crimson hood of the Mechanicus. The hissing and whirring of the machine spirits accompanied the Genetor on his self-guided tour through the maintenance tunnels. The heavy clang of Dragon Scale boots echoed in time with the clatter of the maul and Lightning Cannon hung ceremoniously on Dahti's waist. Although no Enginseer, in truth, the Magos still recognized the mystery of the Void-spirits which drove the hulking engines of His Majesty's Crusades. It was a sacred rite and duty for every Mechanicus to know precisely the machine with which they worked - the companionship of Mechanicus Navymen with their spirits - was a holy and righteous thing. Every embodiment of the Omnissiah's power is owed due respect, but most particularly those monuments to the Grand Glory of the Machine-God, such as the Ordo Titanicus and the many Voidships which guard Imperial space.

Thus, Dahti conducted himself to the Medicae Station and the Xenodomes through the various veins and arteries of His Divine Purpose. Seeing to it that his (now much smaller) staff had become acquainted with the many blessings bestowed on them, Dahti finally ascended to the Central Observation Dome to meet with his erstwhile commander and honor-bound master. Of course, the sound of the Genetor's approach would alert him, but his appearance would likely surprise the Commander Andamar. Though quite old by standard human years, Formidatus' body was sculpted (literally) to be a firm and undying example of the human machine. What look like slabs of muscle have been morphed into the machine of Dahti's body.

The Squat-like Magos climbed up to the dais, and performed an honorable bow before his new liege. The respiratory filter crackled with its binary intonations as the Genetor spoke. The pale Dahti spoke with a more spirited tone than most Mechanicus.

"My Most Venerable Lord Andamar - The Omnissiah is made glad by your acceptance of my passage aboard your most righteous vessel. I thank you for your hospitality, for your most sacred blessings of the machine, and for the opportunity you provide me in my own Quest for Knowledge. I do believe you will greatly profit from my presence here...particularly if you maintain your training regimen."

The bionic right-eye of the Genetor pierced across the room, instinctively processing the sensory data into physiological analytics.

"And, in turn, so do we all profit."
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Jeddaven
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"...Whisper His prayers with devotion, for they will save your soul."

Beep. Beep. Beep.

"Honour His servants, for they speak in His voice."

Beep. Beep. Beep.

"Blessed Sister, do you need to-"

Agathe's hand shot up, palm-outward, toward the interruption, as she shook her head. She wanted to verbally admonish the short, stocky man that interrupted her - but she was stopped by the knowledge that he was omly nervous, likely afraid of the whip that attended him whenever he slowed in his work.

"Tremble before His majesty, for we all walk in His immortal shadow."

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Nodding with a warm smile, she clapped the thickly-bound prayer book in her hands closed, though her eyes did not move; a Sister, after all, would memorize her prayers.

"The Emperor is with you, as He is with all of us. Your daughter, too," she said, her gaze sliding from the man, to his gangly wife crouching over a small bed, to the tiny, frail little girl sleeping in it, her breathing labored and gasping. "Always remember that. Now-" she said, briefly lowering the visor of his armour, her vision instantly filled with a heads-up-display. A summons direction her to... Ah! The Central Observation Dome.

Lifting the dark gunmetal iron-coloured visor back away from her face, she cleared her throat.

"I must depart on business for now, but I will do what I can to return to minister to you. I promise." She said, briefly squeezing the man's hand before turning to leave.




Sister Agathe, punctual as always, was the first to enter the Dome, her iron-coloured armour glinting ever so slightly in its harsh artificial lighting. At one hip she carried her power maul as always, and at the other, her bolt pistol, a Sacrestan's shield fastened to her back-mounted power unit, altogether pushing her somewhat impressive two metres of height just a handful of centimeters higher. She anticipated no combat, of course...

But idleness would beget heresy, and to be unprepared for even the most unlikely eventuality was utterly unacceptable.

"Lord Andamar, Magos." She called out with as much of a bow as her armor would allow, finally approaching the central dais. "I apologize for the delay. I was busy ministering to the ratings - Nyla, the daughter of one of your gunnery ratings, has come down with an illness, and her father requested that I pray for her with him." She continued, stepping onto it with a quiet, relieved sigh as she made the sign of the Aquila across her chest.

Good, she thought, lowering her hands to her sides. I made it. Just on time.
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The Magos and the Sister, so far apart that they were - to the mindof Edmund at least - like parts of some joke from Old Terra. Formidatus, the diminutive and oddly (for a member of the Mechanicus) rotund Genetor, and Sister Agathe... well... honestly he had seen smaller Space Marines in his time! Oh yes, they were the beginnings of some jest, but Edmund could not quite put his finger on it at that moment.

"Welcome, both of you," spoke the Trader, reaffirmed most handily by a dashing smile and the reveal of perfect white teeth, his hands sweeping up into first the sign of the cog and then blending into that of the aquila, "I trust you have both found your time aboard thus far to be a pleasant one?"

He stepped jauntily out from behind the lectern, leaving his dataslate and peaked hat on its surface, moving to stand a little closer to the two foremost arrivals.

"I must say, Magos, that your recommendation of Bronithian grox bone broth has done wonders for me," outwardly he sounded as kind and happy as possible, but as usual the more he looked upon the mating of bionics and flesh that was Dahti the further his mind turned to other thoughts, "and I am assuredly blessed by this regimen, keeping my body and mind as sharp as my sabre, hah."

But it is my body, mine, not some fusion of metal and meat, I have had to earn my body and you... you have done nothing... nothing but 'upgrade' yourself.

Keeping the inner thoughts from his eyes, a trick he had learnt from one of his less diplomatic brothers, he swept his gaze over to the utterly different Sister of Battle who accompanied them at present. She was in every way what the Magos was not, being built like a transhuman killing machine without (as far as he knew) any of the augmentations of the Astartes. Edmund could only wonder at what they had fed her during her time at the schola to grow her that large.

"Sister Agathe," he said, this time his smile most genuine, for although he had no aggression toward the Mechanicus - far from it! - he spoke now to a pure human... even if she were a little more fanatical than some, "I do hope that Nyla will be spared further sickness, Alsan and his wife have suffered enough hardship without the loss of another child."

One hand brushed itself over his cheek briefly, Edmund pondering briefly how even he, a man who stood at six Terran feet and two inches, had to crane his neck to speak with the blunt visor before him.

"May I ask, have you thought any more about what I asked?"

It had been over two months now, two months since coming to the aid of the Sister and liberating her from her own last stand, and in the meantime he had asked her whether she would like to rejoin her own warrior brethren or remain aboard as he did what Rogue Traders did best.

"What I have, on that slate yonder," one hand gestured to the lectern and the vital document resting atop it, "may change your mind one way or another. You just need to understand, as I am sure you do, that should you choose to stay you will be - much like the Magos here - bound to this dynasty by oath and more in the eyes of He on Terra and His servants."
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"As do I," Agathe said, muttering a nearly-silent prayer under her breath as she closed her eyes... Then opened them again, staring down at Edmund's as she lifted her helmet's visor, revealing her sharp-featured, pale-skinned face. For a woman who held little rank and little real experience, she showed practically none of that, meeting Edmund with the firmness one might expect of his betters, not someone that was several years his younger. Whether his concern was genuine or a mere placation, however, she didn't know.

"My Canoness has gracefully granted me permission to join you- though there will be stipulations," she said, casting her mind back to the conversational lessons of her time as a Cantus.

Both a carrot and a stick, Agathe. Stand firm, she reminded herself.

"...In order to ensure I can adequately meet my other duties to Him, of course. I will require that I be permitted to take leave on Shrine Worlds when able, for example. My oath will be to Him, then to His Imperium, then your dynasty, and I will not be able to sign a contract that binds me to service in perpetuity," Agathe explained, rolling the tension out of her shoulders.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Jb
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Edmund had already been impressed by the giant of a Sororitas during her two months aboard his ship - her ministrations to the lower decks, as well as the feeling of security she gave them from her presence alone - and her straight-speaking was just another factor on the side of good.

His brow creased ever-so-slightly as she laid out the 'stipulations', nodding calmly at her words, and eventually holding up both his hands in a gesture of submission.

"I can only agree to such things, can I not? How can I go against His will, after all."

The Trader interlocked his fingers and lifted them to his lips briefly, his eyes never leaving those of the Battle Sister.

"For myself, I would make a request - curb what greater... urges... of faith you may have; I have been charged to go beyond the Imperium, to contact those not of His domain or possibly even our species. If you understand this, then I am certain we shall have no problems whatsoever."

His accompanying smile was genuine, but he gave her no real chance to reply, hoping that she would understand that his duty as a Rogue Trader came before her (frankly dogmatic) religious beliefs, turning sharply on his heel and returning to stand behind the lectern.

With one hand he picked up the data-slate once more, looking at it with some annoyance, his fingers beating out a tune of impatience as he awaited the arrival of those whom could be considered of importance to this vessel and therefore to him as its liege lord.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by ClocktowerEchos
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A trio of junior tech priests watched over the inert plasma reactor, mumbling binaric chants as a servitor recited automated rites of reignition behind them. Most of them still had flesh on them and thus could feel the figurative and literal heat behind them that watched their every move. They were mostly at least a decade older than the spritely 57 year old Chief Enginseer who stood on a balcony overlooking them, yet it was clear to all that age mattered little as one of them misspoke and the engine began to suddenly crackle.

"ERROR ON LINE 1041, VERSE 229." Hishiryn screeched in binary. He tapped something on his data slate and the plasma reactor went into a forced shut down. He scolded the youngest of their number, the one who made the error to begin with, with eyes that burned like ship engines. "Fool, the ritual is to recite the litany on every third turn of the knob, not second. And each recitation is to last no more than 12 standard seconds! Do you need to be taught how to count again!"

The last bit was entirely personal preference as official cult teachings said that this particular litany had no true time limit so long as the knobs were turned in the correct order. However, Hishiryn maintained a strict timeline to be followed when it came to maintaince and his exacting standards where the thing that more than one tech acolyte feared. Yet it was because of those standards that he had been assigned to such a hallowed vessel.

Before he could continue to rip into the poor junior tech priest, a servo-skull floated by and a message ran across Hishiryn's vision as it plugged into one of his mechadendrites.

"I will be back." Hishiryn said in binary as he turned his back to the trio of tech priests, "The captain calls for me. I want this reactor fixed by the time I get back or I will have you reassigned to the organic maintenance of servitors."




A pair of servo-skulls with black iron braziers heralded the arrival of the Chief Enginseer Hishiryn whose eternally smoldering robes crackled with fading flames and left a light trail of ash where he walked. When he talked "naturally" it was with the voice of a roaring kiln mixed with the mechanical monotone so common among tech priests complete with the unnatural breaks.

"Apologetic: I was attending to the plasma reactors on deck 47b. They were 7% under standard efficiency coefficients." The Chief Enginseer did not bother with proper formalities, in his mind his status as the man in charge of running the whole ship made him at least as important as the Captain himself, "Frustrated: There seems to be a great many things which are under standard efficiency coefficients. Elated: But I am never the less thankful for being allowed such a prestigious position aboard such a vaulted vessel."
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Jeddaven
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@Jb Nonetheless, reply Agathe would, even if she didn't expect Edmund to respond in kind. There were boundaries to be set, of course - and while she was perfectly willing to obey orders she would not, after all, do so unthinkingly and without question.

"Fear not," she attempted to reassure him, "my duty as an Iron Veil is to combat the sorcery of the Great Enemy, and the mere existence of xenos, as it were, is of little concern in comparison," she said, silently reminding herself that she would not hesitate to destroy them for abusing Edmund's goodwill or more important abusing the citizenry of the Imperium, or for desecrating his holy places. Rogue Trader or not, such flagrant violations of His blessings were utterly unacceptable.

At the sight - and sound - of the Chief Enginseer's arrival, however, she offered only a simple nod in greeting. He seemed to have little interest in formality, after all, and while she could respect his affinity for holy promethium, she would not -- could not -- reward dangerous arrogance.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by POOHEAD189
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Grimri "Ironclad" Haldengard


Grimri watched as a servitor went about various tasks, keeping the ship's circuitry maintained and the mahcine spirits content. Sparks flew as it welded a piece of strip metal back into place and moved closer to the squat, who took that as his cue to shove off his perch high above the ground from one of the open pockets inside the wall, where the electrical systems were being fixed. The heavy abhuman hit the ground with a 'thud', hefting his shotgun and making his way toward the center of the ship's superstructure. The smell of oil and burning steel reminded him of home, but duty called and so he stepped into the main chamber.

"Sorcery?" He muttered, and spat on the ground. His people had always been suspicious of witchery.

He didn't mean to draw attention to himself, but the very first words he heard were of warp-spawn, even if the sister herself was a good omen in that regard. If any eyes leveled toward him, he would glare back and then turned to the left and walked over to Edmund Andamar. He did not speak again unless spoken to. Instead he hopped up on one of the crates and retrieved a cigar from one of his many pockets, and placed the barrel of his shotgun right at his mouth, as if he were about to kill himself from a point blank shot. Instead, he flipped a smaller switch besides the trigger, a small flame erupting from a diminutive tube below the barrel. It lit his cigar, the squat inhaling deeply and puffing out a billowing cloud of smoke.

Switching the flame off, he puffed his cigar in what little peace there was. The group arrayed before him was passable. He had definitely served with worse, and if the pay was good he would only complain a tolerable amount. Then again, he was lost on what kind of job he was expecting to get. Anything human or xenos would be standard for him. Daemons would be unfortunate, but he wouldn't be daunted regardless.
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Roald Cliffbloom - Ratling Trailblazer


In a ship full of strange Servitors and Squats and giant warrior women nothing ever seemed so strange to Roald as the sight of himself decked out in his dress uniform. Every so often it was called for and every so often Roald put himself through the rigmarole of arranging everything just so. Rogue Traders, this one in particular, had higher standards than some of the ruffians he had traveled with. Sometimes he missed the laxer standards.

Most days his dress uniform lay waiting for the next time it would be carefully inspected, briefly worn, and then set away once more to await its next three to four hour tour of duty. Ironed out with just enough starch. Picked clean of any offending hair or metal brushing or deviant thread yearning for freedom. Patches just precisely level and just precisely at this distance from one another. Proportionally at least. Ratlings only had so much space to work with. Thankfully as a Ratling he hadn't much need to worry about the standards of Medals and Honors. Having none.

This careful arrangement was supposed to make everyone in the Imperial Guard look uniform. Like one unit, one body expressing one purpose and one movement, His.

Roald looked like a fucking OD Green Orangutan Sausage. A small one.

He marched through the ship to meet the others, passing the Servitors and giving them a distance slightly beyond respectful. Who knew when or if one of them might decide he was slightly less Human an Abhuman today. He made sure to bathe and deodorize and all of that, even so.

Arriving to greet the others he made a beeline for the other Abhuman and settled in, working out any remaining wrinkles in his uniform and cursing whoever it was who had clearly been in a hurry when they guesstimated how long the sleeves for a Ratlings dress shirt ought to be.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Erezrim
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Arbusculus Formidatus (Dahti) - Magos Biologis, Mechanicus

Dahti listened intently, a content look on his face as the pieces of His great puzzle arrived to the board. The Magos' pleasant posture was aristocratic; he was a tech-priest by His design, manufactured in the gravity of the Lathes...and he sensed a wonderful tension as the room began to brew with more organic intensity. It was the kind of feeling that one had watching a sacred engine be brought to life with the Ritual of Awakening...it was drenched in the atmosphere of a holy occurrence. At least, that's how it appeared to the Genetor. There could be no coincidence here.

Although he gave a gracious acknowledgement of those who appeared, he awaited, as the Captain Andamar, the rest of the party before he would speak further...until the Enginseer arrived, wherein the Magos was forced to acknowledge more deeply his brethren. After the Enginseer spoke, the clatter of Binary spilled out of Dahti's mouth.

"The Chief Enginseer Hishryn 08-MN Kappa, I presume? Omnissiah's blessings from the Mechanicus Calixis, I offer you; I have heard of you and am always glad to work with my brethren..." A devilish glint reflected in the fleshly eye of the Genetor as he continued, "...but I offer too a query. Is the organic social convention not ritual, as are the litanies and incensed chants of the Machine Spirit? Undoubtedly, you too remember the Warning, 'to break with ritual...'" The Magos let the statement rest in the air as the rest of the party arrived to the Central Dome.

Quickly breaking from the Binary into Low Gothic as everyone who was expected came to the table, "but regardless of this, Chief Enginseer. You would have been most useful at Driantum. The daemonflesh certainly has an adverse response to promethium and I do forsee productive efforts in our future." Finishing his thought, he turned his calculating gaze to the people arrayed before him.

"Noble Commander, this is a most peculiar regiment. Who are we to be so blessed with one of so few Sororitas Errant? Most Honourable Sister Agathe, you exponentially alter the statistical analysis for our venture, as I am sure the Chief Enginseer and the Captain are quite well aware, for you are magnificent specimen of the Emperor's Will." The bionic right eye of the Magos was passively scanning each and every person who came into the room, examining data and extrapolating upon it in milliseconds. The Sister of Battle was more than capable on her own and he looked forward to working together with her, especially in combat. "And two unique variables join us."

Turning to the Squat and the Ratling, the Genetor continued: "Mr. Haldengard and Mr. Cliffbloom. I can't wait to see what it is you do so excellently as to be brought here...As for myself, I can offer many things, but the most practical of which is: stitching your intestines back into you; recasting a skull plate; rebuilding you, blood, bones, and skin, and so on...provided you don't terminate before I can help you, of course." The content smile never left the face of the Mechanicus, becoming more disturbing as one gazed into his mechanized face.

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by ClocktowerEchos
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Hishiryn 08-MN Kappa, Chief Enginseer


Hishiryn looked at the gathered crew; an assorted collection of meatbags who were no doubt top of their own particular little hobbies with their own quirky skills that might be useful in one scenario or another. It was all pretty standard-- wait, was that binary?

The Chief Enginseer's ocular lenses focused in on someone he only barely noticed before hand, a Genetor. Just by looking over him, Hishiryn could get a list of all the relevant data he needed, having Neuro-Data Links was helpful like that. The man's flesh was even more distasteful than the others, the Chief Enginseer only had limited interactions with Genetors but knew enough that they grew their own flesh and grafted their organs after growing them in tubes and chem-vats. It was understandable if someone outside the Omnissiah's clergy did so -most Imperials seemed oddly hesitant to part with their inferior organics- but for a scion of Mars to do so was somewhere between blasphemy and stupidity.

"Do not lecture me on proper rituals and rites." Hishiryn sneered in binary, "I need not be entertained by a fool in flesh who forgets that there is only strength in steel and certainty in iron. Undoubtedly you too remember the Creedo Omnissiah: There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal. There is no strength in flesh, only weakness. There is no constancy in flesh, only decay. There is no certainty in flesh but death.

Diplomacy was certainly not one of Hishiryn's stronger skills, but he proved himself through action, not words. Plus it wasn't like you needed diplomacy to work with machines. As far as he was concerned, he had a single task and everything else was secondary.

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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Jb
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"E-nough!"

Edmund did not raise his voice when he had had more than enough of the the Omnissiah's servants and their bickering, though it was more like a cordial greeting and a sharp rebuttal from one to the other, his tone almost in every respect that of his father.

Having grown up 'in society' as it were, the youngest Andamar had learnt far more of blue-blooded politesse and protocol than his brothers. This included the techniques that one might need to survive that truly cutthroat environment; two of these he had been taught by the old man himself, these being what his father had called 'the face' - an expression used to turn ones visage into an unreadable mask, most lofty and patrician in its outward form, the very expression Edmund adopted as he spoke to the assembled group - while the other was modulating his voice to be heard across a parade ground or forum, the tonal shifts and octaves encompassing there own message, if one were able to follow the cues.

Softly pursing his lips, he held the data-slate in one hand and, after straightening himself to his full height, paced smartly over to the centre of the dais. With a few gestures into the air, and a couple of spoken words to an unseen listener, the floor yawned open and from it rose a large holo-viewer. Gesturing with one hand for those present to gather around, his other slid the slate into a narrow slot, a small beep acknowledging the hand-held device.

The holo-viewer itself was about waist height, a circular projector encompassing the middle, and a keypad in front of where Edmund now stood.

"Now..." the Rogue Trader cleared his throat softly, eyeing each of his newly acquired coterie, "I would like to welcome you all aboard His Divine Purpose. Some of you have been dwelling aboard her longer than others, but I have no doubt that all of you are curious in one way or another - whether about the person stood next to you, about why you're here and where we're going, or more probably both."

Now pausing to tap a few keys with his fingertips, each key illuminating a dim green as it was touched, Edmund caught a sight of Roald from the corner of his eye and could not help but allow the ghost of a smile to flit across his face. That Ratling was certainly something, and he had barely been seen more than a handful of times by the Trader.

"Let us satisfy the former first..."

Particles emerged from the projector in the middle of the circular module, congregating into a spectacularly accurate three-dimensional bust of Roald Cliffblooms head, the Ratling's face rotating in the air between them all.

"Roald Cliffbloom, former Militarum with the occupation of 'trailblazer', here out of sheer wanderlust as far as I can tell."

Next the head was replaced with the bearded countenance of the resident Squat.

"Grimri Haldengard, called 'Ironclad', mercenary. He is here because I am paying him a lot of Thrones, as well as other materials, for his skills. Let it also not go over anyone's head that he is a member of a race most thought extinct, which quite clearly he is not."

"Sister Errant Agathe of the Iron Veil," he half-smiled as her face, covered completely by her helmet, spun in the ether, "who is here with stipulations because like a true servant of Him on Terra she is here to pay what is owed for her life."

"Arbusculus Formidatus, known as Dahti, of the Calixian Mechanicus, our resident saw-bones and biologis. Here to honour obligations to House Andamar, and a welcome guest on this voyage."

At last he turned to his Enginseer, that he had made Chief out of personal choice, the Martians record exemplary even if his manner was lacking.

"Hishiryn 08-MN Kappa, our Chief Enginseer."

For a moment Edmund thought about whether to pursue his line of thought, then decided there was no reason he shouldn't.

"Enginseer Hishiryn, along with everyone gathered here, will do to remember this one thing - on this vessel I am His will, I decide the fate of those thousands that toil about us, and on this mighty ship I am the highest and most singular authority."

He allowed his eyes to rest on the Enginseer for more than a few moments, knowing full well that Hishiryn would very probably realise the words were aimed at him in particular, but on the other hand would more than likely not care.

Edmund had been both blessed and cursed to know far more about the Adeptus Mechanicus than he ever wished to, his families links with multiple forge worlds - though Stygies in particular - ensuring that he had far more patience for the semi-organic magi and even for those that were little more than floating brains in a bionic body. While Hishiryn incontrovertibly raised his hackles with his informal way of speaking, and his lack of respect for rank thus far, it washed over Edmund like pure water off feathers... He could see that this was not the case with at least one other however.

"Let us now answer the second, and more important question."

A few more swipes of his hand and the rotating heads were replaced, at first with the double-headed aquila and then, after a sharp blurt of static and further finger movements, with a slowly scrolling page of High Gothic. Entire sections of multiple pages were blanked with censor-strips, whole pages even, words visible here and there but patently not enough to form a complete picture.

"This is an astropathic message recieved by me not a week ago, a transmission of vermilion encryptian. For those not aware, this is the highest form of encryptian in our Imperium." He paused for a moment to allow that to sink in, the mere fact of this encryptian more than enough to tell all present of its importance, "it was sent by none other than the Lord-Protector himself, the God-Emperor's Regent... The Primarch," again he allowed a moments quiet for effect, "and while I was not the only reciever of this message, I can assure you all that the honour is no less for that. House Andamar, and by extension those of you here, have a chance to do no less than the God-Emperor's will."

In two minutes the broadly censored message evaporated, replacing it a cartographers impression of their current location in the Bakka Sector, hanging in space above the industrial planet itself.

"Imperium Nihilus, gentlemen... And lady... That is where I have been tasked with taking this vessel and all who sail aboard her. Into the nether-reaches of the shattered Imperium, across the Maledictum, and into the space between the Eastern Fringe and Ghoul Stars to be more precise -outside of assessing the situation and state on the other side of the Rift, there is something between those regions just outside of the the Segmentum Ultima that the Lord-Protector and the High Lords wish us to investigate. What exactly that is, even I at this juncture do not know."

One of Edmund's hands spread out its fingers between the particles of the map, widening the sector map into one of the last complete entirety of the Imperial territories, before the Rift had torn the Milky Way asunder.

"My, and therefore our, task of exploration and the like is no less diminished, but we must ultimately find ourselves here..." a finger stretched out to roughly point in an area between Assylus and Coelia, "if any wish to back away now, unbound as of yet from my dynasty, and completely without shame, then please step forward and state it now."

The light from the projector slowly faded, leaving Edmund facing them all once more without a sickly green light covering everything, his hands folding themselves behind his back.

"Our next translation into the warp will take us to the Arpedina System, if you are all willing to come with me. From there we shall travel toward the Rift and from there ever onward."

At last he stood entirely still once more, taking in each of them with a glance.

"Sounds simple enough, ey... Any questions?"

Now was the time for any and all questions, because once they were under way it would be much too late to turn around.

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Hishiryn 08-MN Kappa, Chief Enginseer


"Slight concern: To traverse the Great Rift is..." There were about a dozen different words Hishiryn thought of putting in, ranging from "stupid" to "suicidal", but even he could tell this was not the time. They had been given a mission from a son of the Omnissiah himself. To disobey a senior Magos was unthinkable enough but even he had enough respect for a Primarch to not question their wisdom. And order was an order and just like a Castellan Robot being given a new data program slate, he would obey them.

"Inquiry: Are there any conditions or stellar dangers to be aware of?" The tech priest slightly changed his tone, "Confident: While there are certainly numerous dangers which may befall the ship, given enough time, awareness, and resources I will be able to manufacture suitable counter measures or deterrents for all of them."

Hishiryn remembered how his first captain thought it wise to not inform any of the engineering crew about stellar hazards because "he could handle them". The memory of being hit by solar radiation, plasma stellar lifeforms and getting rammed by some space whale titan beast and the ensuing decompression ran across his mind. He was extremely glad that he did not require sleep or at least could rely upon a circadian half-cycler to put half his brain to sleep and utilize the other half for in his dreams, Hishiryn was still haunted by the image of a space titain bursting through a bulkhead and devouring him whole as he was pulled into the cold vacuum of space.

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"Just questions, Chief Enginseer," acknowledged the Trader with a curt nod toward the interrogative tech-priest, "tis better to be forewarned and forearmed, and so I shall try to answer as completely as I may at this time."

In a multitude of motions he was once more thrown into viridescent illumination, the holo-projector coming to life with a smoothness rarely seen outside of technology from the more enlightened days of the Imperium and her history, twists and flicks of a finger bringing up first their own location, the map expanding to show the Segementum Tempestus, and with a couple of south-westerly motions of two fingers, the projection coalesced into the southerly half of the Ultima Segementum.

"Within the borders of our great Imperium, that in which we now sit with some security, you need not fear of finding anything beyond that which we already know. Inside the confines of the Imperium Sanctus you may continue as you always do, though tightened security may not go amiss."

A couple more moments and the green map, now marked with innumerable and ever-shifting icons, names and other numerical information, dived forth once more to make large a particular location - the contested worlds of the Charadon Sector.

"Following our pause at Arpedina, this is our next port of call. The Charadon Sector. An even now contested sector, wherein lay many dangers, but where we must go to find a specific someone who, God-Emperor willing, will be able to make our journey through the Great Rift a fraction more survivable; I have been told little, only that they exist, and where they are apparently to be found."

His broad shoulders rose and fell in a shrug, as he once more allowed the projector to return to a point of standby.

"I do wish I could say more about after we reach the Dark Imperium, because we will reach it, but the honest truth is that things are so unlike they once were that this is simply not possible. I could warn you of environmental hazards that once were there, only for them to be swallowed by the cursed warp. I could mention foul xenos that inhabited a world we may pass, but for all I know they could now be extict... or an empire of their own."

Those gloved hands now leant themselves on the solid circular base of the machine, Edmund leaning forward with a creak of leather, "believe and trust me when I say that I will inform you, Hishiryn Zero-Eight Em-En Kappa, that I will tell you... all of you... as much as I can, when I can, if I know it for certain; I know you, as a servant of the Omnissiah, would rather I give you cold, hard, irrefutable logic and statistics. At this moment though I can give you little more than theoreticals, information I believe those of your creed would not take at face value, as we organics say - all I can say is that I would like you to make strong the ship, keep her running at optimum range, and see to her care."

Glacial eyes flashed about once more as Edmund took a deep breath, turning one hand palm-up and sweeping it before him in a semi-circle.

"Anyone else?"
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The very moment the Squat began to fall - or perhaps leapt - from his perch, the warning systems in her armour kicked into high gear, warning her of a large object approaching at significant velocy. Her body, too, reacted, twitching for her power maul...

But mere moments later, it finally registered the object as a Squat and she relaxed, sucking in a deep breath through her nose as she silently wondered what, other than his apparent tenacity, Edmund saw as valuable in the gruff, bearded man. There must have been something, after all... But he hardly seemed approachable. Perhaps a master of close-quarters combat? His shotgun must've fit that bill.

Next, she was alerted to the arrival of another - a ratling - first by an innocuous warning from inside her helm, then the shape of a strange little man stuffed into an ill-fitting suit dashing across her field of vision like he'd accidentally shit himself, only to seat next to the other abhuman, utterly silent. If not for the ill-fitting uniform, however, she might've been as equally lost, but she'd heard of enough ratlings in the Guard, usually employed as scouts, snipers, or for duties of that sort. Another loyal servant of the Emperor, either way, and one who probably had substantial combat experience. As long as he had some way to contribute, he would surely be welcome.

And then without so much as a word from either of the Magi, she watched Dahti's attention shift, and she instantly let out a sigh, knowing full well that there was a tendency among the visibly differing sects of the Mechanicus to argue. Between a man more machine than man and the genetic machine Dahti was, she assumed argument was inevitable...

And it was, not that she cared terribly to listen, keeping her focus on Edmund aside from a respectful bow in turn to Dahti. Even if she didn't want to be pulled into whaetever he'd just dragged himself into, he deserved the courtesy of a visible greeting, at the very least.

Thankfully, the brewing philosophical debate was cut short by Edmund's intervention, finally allowing Agathe to bring her gaze to the projected holo-image. It was...

Frighteningly accurate, as far as she could tell. Despite how odd the ratling looked in his outfit, she couldn't help but focus on how unusually perfect the image was, unlike many holoprojections she'd seen before, if any. Its sheer accurate clouded her mind before she was knocked out of her momentary stupor by Edmund's words.

Trailblazer... A pathfinder of sorts, maybe? That'd be... Incredibly helpful, she thought. Agathe, after all, had seen little of the wild places of the galaxy, and knew even less of how to navigate them. The Squat, a mercenary. The Magi, more obviously essential in her mind, and herself...

Well, Edmund had respected her wishes to keep her face hidden, and that was enough...

For a few moments, until Lord Guilliman's name graced her ears and she felt a shudder of religious ecstasy at the mere notion of her, but a meagre Battle Sister, being joined to a mission given by the Lord-Proector Himself. Even if Edmund wouldn't or couldn't yet divulge the precise details, such a fact meant whatever they were going to do must've been incredibly vital, that the Inquisition would certainly follow them...

Agathe couldn't help letting her mind race, words blurring together so much she nearly failed to listen to Edmund, if not for the memory of her Palatine whipping her mind into shape reminding her to stay focused on the task at hand.

Still, she couldn't help herself from bringing her hands togehter in the shape of an Aquila over her chest, muttering a prayer under her breath.

"I tread the path of Righteousness. Though it be paved with broken glass, I will walk it barefoot; though it cross rivers of fire, I will pass over them; though it wanders wide, the light of the Emperor guides my step."

Quietly sucking in a breath through her nose, she closed her eyes for a fraction of a second, then flipped them open.

"A... request, Lord, if you would permit it. I would aks that myself and the priests aboard this vessel be allowed to perform a ceremony to bless this journey - all are invited, of course, even our Navigator. I... Think that making clear the provenance of our voyage would provide an enormous, mentally steeling boost of morale to the crew, and, perhaps moreso, to bless the vessel with such a ceremony will surely aid us in repelling the threat of our Greatest Enemy," Agathe continued. "I can speak to the priests to compile a list of materials we will require, but I do not believe that might more than a little incense, water, and fuel will be required."
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Erezrim
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Genetor Dahti, Chief Medicae and Xenobiologist

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The retort from the Enginseer was expected; Hishiryn's words were so...trite. Dahti had heard many times over the critiques of his Order before and it came as no surprise that even one below his rank would have the gumption to comment on the Genetor's vat-grown muscles. It was of no consequence. In truth, the commander did good by cutting both of the tech-priests off from their ancient argument. There would be time enough to convince the Enginseer of the value of flesh, especially if they were going as far as the Dark Imperium - and it was this mission which was most peculiar, even moreso than the Squat.

Dahti listened intently, reading over the High Gothic that sprawled across the screen in front of them. So little was evident from what he could decipher, besides the direct information being given by the commander. Undoubtedly, it was in fact a missive from the Primarch himself, which was remarkable to say the least. That he would be so privileged to be a part of a mission from the Righteous Lord Guilliman himself, Dahti was visibly excited (as much as a Magos could seem).

The logistics began formulating in his mind as they spoke: the dangers of the journey were far more complex than just Xenos, Daemons, and Void-beasts...supplies, such as food, water, medicine, bandages, tools, ammunition and firearms (God-Emperor knows how much is needed), fuel, sacred oils, promethium, and, most importantly, manpower. The data-arrays of the campaign on Driantum and the Indomitus Crusade flooded back into the cerebral cogitators of the Magos. The Daemon-infested Forge World had been so close to the Maledictum, it now came as no surprise to Dahti that he had been given this opportunity aboard His Divine Purpose.

His Calculus Logi produced inquiries that numbered in the thousands, but much of that data could be retrieved with the aid of the Enginseer in accessing the ship's data-stacks (as long as they were undamaged). If anything, the Magos had several questions of great importance about the people arrayed in front of him. However, as he formulated his ideas, he listened to the others before his sonorous tone broke into the conversation.

"Blessed be our venture, to have come from Holy Terra itself! I second Sister Agathe's request! To righteously sanctify our honorable vessel, our noble bodies, our blessed machines and weapons, would both mentally steeling and tactically wise. The spirits aboard this glorious vessel, both organic and inorganic, are protected by His Divine Blessings, from the torment and terrors of the Enemy, most particularly those Whispers of Chaos which can infect the mind as insidiously as the body."

The Magos continued, a holy fervor and zeal invigorating his speech.

"More than once I have been witness to capabilities of the Ministorum's wards...most especially when combined in a Grand Liturgy with the litany of the Machine. Should we have the capacity to perform the rite of a Grand Liturgy, it would be the same ritual as is performed for those about to embark on Holy Crusade, which seems most fitting for our Ordained journey."

His rising speech pulled back, however, as he looked towards the others and the Enginseer particularly. The Magos then spoke with the gravitas of many years spent in the Void.

"Under Lord Andamar's auspices, I do not doubt we will make it to our destination. However. I would do a great disservice to all of you if I did not share the truth of the Maledictum. It is unlike any Warp-Storm which has touched the face of our galaxy. The machinations of the Enemy are nearly infinite and the foul Spawn of Chaos will, without a doubt, make an attempt on our vessel."

The Magos paused for a moment before continuing, the mechanical tone of his voice clicking and shifting to a new thought.

"In light of this I have several queries; 1. With the permission of the Chief Enginseer, I wish to access the data-stacks of this vessel, so as to know the minutiae of its staff, its faculties, and its vulnerabilities - if I know where to expect danger, I can have my staff prepared to assist; 2. I would wish to physically examine each of you, so that, should I need to save your life, I will know the specimen with which I work - especially you," the Genetor pointed to the Squat, Haldengard, "as I have only ancient data on your kind. And, 3. A question for the Commander - are we to make contact with any support or are we to complete the assignment alone? The strategic analysis will fluctuate depending on our resources."

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Once more Edmund waited with an innate patience he had possessed his entire life, listening intently while both Sister Agathe and then the more seasoned figure of his Genator, each of them seemingly becoming enraptured with religious fervour, made question or request of him. Although a devout citizen himself - one had to be when one had both his upbringing and his current occupation, a faith in the divine Emperor never seen as anything but positive - he lacked the zealotry shown by others toward his gene-sons. True, the Lord-Protector was far above the average warriors of the Astartes, but he was still a transhuman nonetheless, and Edmund saw no reason to view nor treat him as a seraphic element.

"Sister... Magos... if you are both willing to work together in what the Genetor has described, this 'Grand Liturgy', then I had no objections to it. On the contrary, what sort of Imperial faithful would I be if I did not push for some form of blessing myself in this undertaking?"

Indeed, he valued Dahti's experience - especially when it came to the Great Rift - and Agathe's vigour as two components that would serve the entire enterprise very well come the future. As the Genetor had said, whether they liked it or not the servants of the Ruinous Powers would stand in their path one way or another, and when that time came it would benefit no-one to be unprepared in faith or doubtful of their most righteous cause.

"May I now answer your more pressing queries," intoned the Trader with a smile, keeping his eyes steady on the semi-organic form of Genetor Dahti, "first I must ask that you refrain from directing enquiries of data-matter toward the Chief Enginseer, he has neither the clearance or the knowhow to grant your request. I shall contact our foremost Lexmechanic and have him open our datastacks to you, Chief Medicae, excluding those where I would rather you do not or will not be allowed to traverse- I believe I see why you ask, but know that, should you be corrupted in any way, I would need to delete you from existence above all others."

Looking now to the rest of the group he gave another short shrug.

"I do not believe I can speak for all in regards to a medical examination, but I would urge all present to submit to one, excluding myself of course. Magos Dahti knows already all he needs to know about my physiological condition."

The last question was the hardest to answer, Edmund having his name, his wealth and those few contacts he had made in his so far short career to rely on with any solidity.

"As a Rogue Trader, and owner of a Warrant of Trade, I hold both within and without the Imperium powers of authority matched only by the highest levels of sovereignty; while I hold no knowledge of assured support, in material or otherwise, should it be imperative to call on aid then I believe we can expect to be given all we may require."

There were things for the moment that young Lord-Commander Andamar could have said, perhaps things he even should have said, but these were not things that needed to be widely known among those he had chosen as his retinue of sorts. Oh there were contacts he could call upon, aid he could demand to be given, things that could well tip the Genetor's idea of 'strategic analysis', but for now he saw no reason to speak on that in any capacity.
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Grimri "Ironclad" Haldengard


He was content to smoke and listen, sociable enough with his own kind, and other mercs, but a bit slower to trust this mishmash of whatever the ancestors or the emperor had rung up. Smoke wafted lazily out of his mouth and nose as he sat, though he regarded the ratling with a quizzical look. He'd served with one of them before. Deadshots they were, though untrustworthy and a bit on the scraggly side, even for one like Grimri, though this ratling was all dressed up.

"They paying you in pies?" He deadpanned, though his attention was swiftly taken by the others as they spoke and referenced his presence at various points.

"Well doc, I can tell ye I'm built like most men yer familiar with. Well, on the inside, at least. Brain, spleen, liver, heart, lungs, gut." He gestured with his hand as if he was vaguely scooping entrails out of his stomach. "My parts just work better, and it's harder to get at 'em in a fight." He replied with a grin that showed his teeth, parting his beard and mustache like parting a thick bush with your hands. It was true, in a fashion. Squats had to endure harsh conditions on grim worlds, with thick bones and tough skin. Grimri's people had particularly long lifespans to boot, comparable to adeptus astartes. "And I'm here to make sure ye stay alive too, by killing whatever is tryin'a kill ye."

He took a long drag from his cigar, and with surprising dexterity, he blew out what looked like a smoke sword, with the merest curves for a hilt. He did this right as Edmund was introducing him. It was clear his squat body was loaded to the teeth, and his shotgun looked made of some asteroid steel and heavy as all hell. So Guilliman himself was giving the orders, aye? Grimri never much gave thought to the Primarchs, except the Russ. By all accounts, he had good relations with Grimri's people.

Even with his devil-may-care attitude, he did bow low in respect when the mechanicus fellow spoke of honoring the machine spirit. The squats weren't too devout when it came to the Omnissiah, but they respected machinery, engineering, and all things mechanical. Grimri had a particularly fascination with such things, which was the crucible of him wanting to make his own weaponry. He had forged the gun and his axe, and he could dress, assemble, and reassamble most anything in the imperium, at least when it came to small arms.

"So, when do we start boss? I'm not against ye paying me to sit around, but..." He let the question hang, giving a shrug.
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Roald Cliffbloom - Ratling Trailblazer


It was not without effort that Roald held back a chuckle at the Squat's joke.

He did enjoy himself a good pie. Apple, sauerabfel, boysenberry, blackberry, cranberry, strawberry, cherry or well... Yes yes he enjoyed many varieties of pie.

"Mostly the same," he replied about his anatomy, "Human but a wee bit smaller. Not in all places mind ye. And I specialize in a venturin' out and in gettin' an' keepin' an eye on the enemy. If ye see a shot comin' outta nowhere and blastin' a t'ird eye in some buggers face that'd be me. Or if'n ye hear a big boom out in the distance. That'd be me too. I'm a crafty lil bugger I am."

It were about right. Like most Ratlings there weren't much to him. Where others might just be able to survive a bolter round to an arm or leg, granted minus that arm or leg, for Roald there simply wasn't all that much space from an arm or leg to his body and there wasn't all that much blood a'pumping through his wee little body. A Ratling were never going to be one to trade blows with much of anything.

Maybe a gretchin, Roald supposed. A knife fight between him and one of them might just work. He might have to test that. But much of anything bigger than that and he would need the element of surprise, or distance, or high powered explosives tied to one manner or another of detonator that the poor sod would never realize he'd activated until his thinkin' bits and his fightin' bits were quite some distance away from one another and spread all about the place. Something to even the odds out, you understand.

Having a bit of a think of all this, Roald was getting hungry. He would never admit it to that Squat who just maybe havin' a wee bit of a go at him, but a pie did sound nice right about now.
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