The Rainwalkers

Pirate Filth...Again

Every day on Footfall is a testament to the mercy of the God Emperor, that it survives each day to bear the obvious treads of pirate presence is a feat of no small significance.

Zulfikar, one of the supposed elite seems amicable despite the infestation of pirates within his company. His assistant Janoor seems to be the only one who does not respect the title of Rainwalker. Had my first introduction to the compound not been at gunpoint this would’ve been an excellent opportunity to expose the crew for what they truly are. In time I shall learn the deadly secret she holds.

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Footfall

If ever I were to be disgusted by the mention of its name, Footfall would be the first. It is a wretched hive of scum and villainy, fit only for the damnable souls of these godless miscreants. The port is awash in crime and violence, a bloody ballet orchestrated by those with the deepest pockets, “former” pirates among them.

The longer I tread the filth of this city the less I can bear it’s existence.

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Kayp Log 16
Rhino Mowdown and the Mole's Lair

Waking up was still a little disorienting. Despite the fact I had spent more than a handful of days at the infirmary, I still would wake up alarmed and confused unsure of where I was. Upon seeing the familiar blue and pink poster on the wall saying, “Get Whale Soon!” I sank back down in the bed and sighed deeply relaxing a bit. Counting down the days until I got discharged, one day I got a visitor. She soundlessly walked in the room and stood quietly waiting for the nurse to finish her routine check in. I grinned as the nurse looked slightly uncomfortable as my visitor waited quietly by the door not saying a word. I watched at the nurse rounded the corner and the door softly slid shut.

“Hello, Krieger.”

Krieger took a few steps forward looking… not quiet uncomfortable but definitely trying to gather the right words. I smiled good-naturedly and waited to see what brought her into the infirmary. Surely, she would understand that I haven’t gotten the opportunity to work on her project yet.

“We were under gunned or I would have never allowed you to have been in that fire fight.” She said suddenly. My eyes grew wide. That was definitely not what I was expecting…

“You should not have been in combat; you are not a soldier.” She continued. I looked away my cheeks growing hot, embarrassed by my weakness. “But that is okay. Do not be like me. You help in other ways and there are plenty of other men on our crew that are already like me..”

She reached inside her coat and brought out a gun and held it out to me. I held out both hands palm up to receive the gun, completely speechless. I glanced at the gun for a moment then looked up and locked eyes with Krieger.

“Take this for future use. It is a lot better than what you currently carry. Take care.”

And with that she left. I didn’t even get to mutter a thank you. I sat there for a moment and stared at the gun. It was a Stub Automatic Pistol and it looked brand new. Hearing the nurse’s footsteps approaching the room, I quickly stashed the gun away. As soon as I was out of here I would work on Krieger’s shock device. It was the least I could do. That was two things now that I felt like I needed to repay to Krieger. I was surely in her debt and she really was a good friend.

It seemed like forever before I was discharged, and I couldn’t wait to get back to my pandai and Technomat, but it was a short-lived freedom. Back to work. Sigmund and Nyx had somethings to do in preparation to us leaving Footfall, so the rest of us were sent on a mission to inspect the mysterious location we got out of the damaged datapad. I drove us to a warehouse district on the outskirts of Footfall and we easily tracked down the mystery address. I drove around the block to get a scope of the building and neighborhood. I took the opportunity to give Krieger her shocking device before who knows what happened on our trip.

“I forgot to give you this before we left the Titansbane.. I figured you might want it depending on what happens in the next couple hours.” I reached into my coat and withdrew the Pocket-Shock-it (patent pending) and handed it to Krieger.

“Thank you. It will come in handy in interrogation if we take on any prisoners.” Krieger responded, eyes never leaving the front window.

“Oh… I thought you were going to use it as a taser…” I guess I never really asked what it would be used for… I tried not to think about it.

As we drove by the second time, I dropped off Zarko, Emir, and Krieger in various places down the street to avoid suspicion. Parking in an alleyway a few blocks down, I left Hodor in the rhino and walked out to the entranceway of the alleyway so I could see Krieger and wait for a signal. I spotted the bottom of Zarko’s cloak as he disappeared into the alleyway down the side of the building and then watched Krieger as she approached a few men standing outside the front door of the building. She received a lowstick from one of the men and they seemed to be having a relaxed conversation. As some time went by the men seemed to start to tense up. Suddenly like a button had been pushed, the man seemed agitated and pointed down the street toward me. I held my breath wondering if we had been compromised but the man didn’t move and Krieger casually stepped away. Okay.. The man hadn’t seen me. Krieger probably said something to bristle the man’s fur. Krieg spotted me and as she walked by I turned and fell in step and we made our way to the rhino just in time for our micro beads to shout out.

“Shit just went bad!”

Immediately, Krieger jumped on top of the rhino and I didn’t hesitate to jump into the driver seat. I started backing up onto the street as Hodor jumped out the side. I frowned, confused and I bit alarmed, but he seemed to know what he was doing and I didn’t stop to ask questions. I could hear gun fire from above me and saw men in front of the building collapse. I drove past the front of the building and turned down the alleyway that Emir disappeared down. As I turned the corner, I could have swore I heard someone shout, “Oh, my balls!” Two additional men that were running down the alley way toward us, got a horrible surprise as we showed up suddenly, and I clipped both of them with the rhino and sent them flying through the air. I don’t think they got up but I didn’t stop to look. My mission was to find our men. Turning another corner, I spotted Emir on the ground with a guard holding a gun toward Emir. Krieg shot with without hesitation. Emir stood and started to follow where Zarko had disappeared inside the building.

“Where to?” I shouted.

“Lets go around!” Krieg yelled back, hitting the top of the roof.

If I didn’t know better, I would think she was having a bit of fun up there. I grinned mischievously, and slammed on the gas, racing the length of the back of the building and pulling into the other alleyway (the one Zarko originally went down). Two more men resided here and were also caught unaware. A couple of gun shots went off, and then a tumbling sound from up top, caused me to slam on the breaks. BUMPBUMP went the men and I came to a sudden stop. Krieger’s body rolled off the front of the rhino and my breath caught.

“…..You alright?” I shouted, opening the side door.

Krieger lay sprawled on the ground but her arm shot up flashing me the thumbs up. I shook my head and grinned. This was going pretty well so far.

We went to the side door and let ourselves in. I felt confident as I followed Krieger inside the dark building, but with an explosion and some smoke bombs later, my confidence fled like the light from this room.

“Kayp, you need to get the bay doors open and get some light in here,” Krieger said, drawing her gun and taking a few steps forward looking for the invisible enemy.

You are not a soldier. You help in other ways. Krieger’s words from the infirmary echoed in my memory.

I took a deep breath and ran to the bay doors. I would get them open and I would help my crew. Hodor came through the front door and ran to the right, away from us, and from across the room I could hear Zarko shout to Emir. Gunfire echoed horribly throughout the empty warehouse, and between the deafening thunder of the firefight and the smoke choking up the air, my head was pounding and it was hard to think straight. Reaching the wall, I walked along it with my hands brushing against the stone bricks feeling for a lever or button or anything sort of mechanism that would get the giant bay doors open.

“Krieger, there are no controls on this front wall…” I said through the microbead. I fought to think of a way I could possibly get to the back of the building where the door controls had to be located. The safest way would be to run outside and around out of the firefight but that would take too long… The rhino! I could drive the rhino aroun-

“Krieger. Get away from the bay door!” I shouted through the microbead. Why would I drive all the way around the building when I could drive through the bay door! I was driving a tank after all!

I took off outside, relieved to be able to breath easily again, and jumped into the rhino. Aiming at the front door, I took a deep breath and slammed on the gas.

CRASH!

Dazed, I brushed the bangs out of my eyes and was discouraged to see that the door still head in place. I backed up and punched the gas again.

CRASH!

A bear sized hole appeared in the door but it still held its place and the front of the rhino was smashed to hell. I winced as I reached up and found a cut on my forehead. Wiping blood away from my eyes with the back of my hand, I rammed the door again. That the heck was this made of? Frustrated that I couldn’t get through the door, I was starting to panic. My crew needed me… I needed in this building! Backing up farther to give myself a more powerful hit, I yelled a lot as I drove as fast as I could at the door.

CRASH!

Finally the door caved in enough that the rhino burst into the room. I frantically looked around trying to locate my team. I spotted Hodor fighting with a man to my right; he seemed to be doing just fine. I squinted into the dissipating fog and my stomach turned as I spotted the unmoving body of Krieger abandoned on the ground. From this distance, I couldn’t tell if she was unconscious or dead… Gun fire snapped my attention to the back of the room and I saw two men shooting at a lone Zarko. He seemed to be quickly fading as he fought, looking like he was about to go down at any moment. I would never forgive myself if my whole crew died because of my inability to win a battle against a damn door! I squinted my eyes, calculating the room, and slammed my foot on the gas racing across the empty warehouse. Reaching just past the halfway mark, I slammed on the brakes, and went into a dangerous skid across the floor. The rhino impaled the column directly in front of Zarko and my head slammed into the steering wheel. Dazed and the wind knocked out of me, I struggled to lift my head to see out of the front window. A slow smile spread across my lips as I saw the aftermath of my crash. I had managed to hit one of the men shooting at Zarko and as his body went flying through the air he managed to hit his ally and both men were against the far wall in a pile. Zarko quickly recovered from my unexpected arrival, dodged to the rhino for cover, and took advantage of the temporarily disarmed men. The fight was soon over.

We found Emir in a back hallway unconscious and I ran to Krieger to check and make sure she was alright. It was an unfortunate fight…. And I felt guilty for my inability to get to the team quicker. Next time I would not fail them…

Once everyone had a moment to breathe we started inspecting the warehouse. I was confused by the huge hatch on the center of the warehouse floor and went to find a means to open it. Spotting a small black box on the wall, I ran over and found a sort of keycard device.

“We need a keycard!” I called out across the room. I heard a grunt from someone behind me as they flipped over a body to inspect their pockets.

I carefully opened it up the keycard device with my knife and tinkered with some of the settings in side the cover. I couldn’t get it to activate. It was unfamiliar from the ones I had seen in the past, and I couldn’t locate anywhere a card could be inserted…

“Oh duh!” I muttered, bumping my head with my head and wincing from the cut I forgot was there. These devices were magnetic, the card just had to touch the surface. “Guys, these authorization devices need a sort of magnet.”

“There are no cards here. They don’t even have anything in their wallets.” A frustrated Zarko replied throwing an empty wallet to the ground and walking away.

I carefully reassembled the device and slowly wandered the room thinking of where a keycard would be hidden. I didn’t like to be near dead bodies but I slowly wandered up to one, wracking my brain to where this man would hide a sort of activation or identification item. They indeed had nothing in their pockets. Coats with buttons on their sleeves. No hats. Nothing in their boots. That wouldn’t make sense anyway… Retrieving something from their shoe would take way too long in a hurry. Each man seemed to have a small simple notebook. Maybe something magnetic or metal in the lining of the book? Something metal?…. Buttons!

Cutting a button from the sleeve of the man, I took it over to the device on the wall and touched it to the surface. The ground started to vibrate. The hatch slowly opened and a sort of elevator was below. We all hopped on and underneath the warehouse we found a small room with paperwork lining the wall and a computer at a simple desk. Krieger found a flask of some kind of fancy booze and Emir discovered a half smoked cigar with a familiar tobacco packed inside. I think we had found the lair of Zulfikars mole. We took some time to pack up the room into the rhino and we thankfully found no trouble getting to the Titansbane despite the horrid state of the rhinos smashed front end.

We went to Zulfikar with only a few things with us as proof incase we someone got intercepted. We had a bit of trouble getting into the base because of Krieger’s sharp tongue but Emir was quick to smooth their ruffled feathers. This was silly we needed to get to Zulfikar immediately. Finally getting inside, Zulfikar seemed surprised to see us. We explained what we had found and handed him the cigar and flask while showing him photos of the paperwork we had confiscated. His face turned into rage and he called in his seneschal Shylock. (Hmm I feel like I have heard that name in a book before. ;) ) Zulfikar had him seized and I inwardly smiled at our good fortune and finding this guy. It seemed like we were in his good graces once again and redemption felt nice.

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We had a fight!
And Hodor got nakey, :(

We started looking for Zulfikar’s missing shipments. Finally. We’re still on Footfall, so that’s shitty, but I want a favor from Zulfikar, so in the end this may still help me.

There was a warehouse out in the industrial district that matched the address on the datapad we procured. There was a handful of guards outside. Emir and I tried flanking the one in the back, but shit went bad and before we knew it there were more than just the one. Kayp and Krieger came by in the transport, and straight up pasted a guy. Awesome. After there was only the main guy left, I busted in to the warehouse, everyone else could handle one guy.

Boy, that was a mistake.

Eight guys with pistols and shockmauls were right around the corner. I immediately ran back around the corner and aimed my lascannon at the choke point. They never came.
After a tense fight that nearly killed Emir AND Krieger, and caused heavy damage to our transport, we won the fight. Oh yeah, Hodor was naked for some reason too. I saw the explosion during the fight. I don’t know what happened, but all his clothes were gone. It was horrible.

We started looking around, and found a decent amount of Zulfikar’s stuff. After searching a bit more, we came to discover that it was Shylock who had been betraying him. Zulfikar had me put Shylock in the brig on the Titansbane, and now we’re off to get the rest of his gear.

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Yo ho yo ho

For a moment there, I forgot that I’ve not been making any headway.
The crew was on our way to Nashat’s, something Sig needed doing. Soon after we got in though, a small fleet attacked. Pirates. They took Sig and one of Nashat’s men.

We chased them as they fled, I hopped in the Outlaw to catch up faster, with numerous ships following, not just the Titansbane. They fled to Port Izra. Of course the one place nobody knew the location of. Well, except for one.

Hodor knew the location.

We’ll need to keep a closer eye on him. He claims to be from the past, and to have a deep hatred of pirates, but I don’t trust him. If he truly was a pirate and just trying to trick us for whatever reason, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. How else would he have known where Izra was? A hub that large doesn’t just vanish from the records. Something isn’t adding up.

There was a brief firefight with a few ships once we entered the system, but after that it was smooth sailing. Nashat used to be a pirate apparently, so she knew a bit about navigating our way to a safe spot to “dock”. I will say this, pirates are real good about letting others keep their privacy. We didn’t have to dock anywhere in particular, and just took a transport down. Someone recognized me, I don’t know who they were though, I’ve hit a lot of people. They decided it was likely not actually me and went about their business. Last thing I need is him finding out I’m going to Izra of all places, that would make my goal far too obvious.

After a small altercation on Izra, Krieg and Hodor worked out that Sig and Demidicus were probably being taken to the spire, along with some other rogue traders. We made our way, and as we neared the spire, we noticed more and more costumed individuals. Nashat mentioned some “Fesitval of The Red Storm”, and that when the gas giant that Izra orbited had a red storm show up every 10 years, people dressed up as demons and what not. Huge party, it’s a shame we had other business, could have been fun.

We needed costumes, so I bartered with a shop and got costumes for everyone by trading my bottle of raenka. I’ll be needing another from Sig for this.

We made it to a building where we saw prisoners being ushered into, and next door was a building with a group of fully-grown pandai. I had never seen one in real life apart from Kayp’s. They were huge, and violent. After a few different attempts, all with varying degrees of success, we eventually made it to the other building just in time for trucks to be pulling away to the spire. We could hear Sig in the microbead, he was in one of the trucks, along with Demidicus.

We stopped the trucks, and took the driver of one for questioning. We’re keeping him in the Titansbane’s brig until further notice. We freed all the captives, and made our way back to get Nashat from the square. Just in time to see her being dragged away.

We chased after and made it to some docks. They were about to get away, so I ran from cover and blocked their escape, just in time to see the man holding Nashat was also holding a las shotgun. I got lucky, plain and simple. Some grav-lifts starting coming in, some bringing more thugs, some empty. I stayed in the same spot and prevented them from moving ahead, while the others worked on taking them out. We barely made it out okay, but we did, and returned to the Titansbane.

Our new “friend” told us he was working for a man named Lorcas Dragnipur. We’ll need to do some asking around on Footfall about this guy.

Luckily, we left Izra with no incident, so we can come back here again if we ever need something we can’t get anywhere else. That’s not so bad I guess.

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Pirate Filth

Every corner I turn within this wretched vessel casts another shadow of doubt upon the claims of the so called captain. My time aboard has been marked with lies and intimidation, or the purest solitude. I fear each step brings me closer to the unabashed truth, that I am in the belly of the beast with not a single light save the effervescent ray of hope that is the Emperor’s Guidance.

Sigmund seems to have taken to a trader, and seems to have also led pirates to her. What he is trying to coerce from her with this kidnapping I can only imagine as he departs with his cohorts and Nashat’s man. While he may have acted as a hostage, I see through his ruse. His exploitation of her and his pirate compatriots is abominable and I shall see his lies through to the end.

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Kayp Log 15
Pirate Festival of Red Storm and Pandais

Krieger came to visit me again. Luckily it was not about Nyx this time. He inquired about making a sort of device that would shock a person and incapacitate them without being lethal. I hesitated but agreed. I did need a new project. Krieger also saved my life. A debt I could not repay. I would need to go pick up more scrap material later.

We had a meeting. I didn’t feel like going but I felt like it was unofficially mandatory; especially now that Nashat and Sigmund were doing the nasty. I’m not sure if it was anything more than sex but it wasn’t really any of my business. Anyway, we went to Nashat’s (I’m sure you remember she is the one that took in all the female slaves that we rescued from that alley awhile back) and there were a lot of people around here and there. A few of the crew wandered off to the food. I lingered close to the wall trying not to be noticed. The woman here could be a bit… much and not only did it make me very uncomfortable but I also didn’t want Nyx upset with me. I didn’t have much time to worry about the woman here, or what they might do, as Nashat’s sudden scream of “SHUT THE DOORS” rang out about the crowd followed by explosions; then darkness.

I woke to screaming, running, and someone pulling on my arm. I’m not sure who helped me to my feet but I was having a hard time. Still recovering from the grenade blast, I was not having the greatest time ever. I heard one of our crew yell Sigmund’s name, and eventually I was able to piece together that Sigmund had been snatched by pirates, and the ship had shot the building to hell before taking off.

Soon we were off in the Titansbane and chasing after this ship. A frigate and a raider joined us in the chase. Nashat stood in the bridge with us she remained mostly silent seemingly lost in thought. Apparently another lord merchant, named Enoch, was also taken along with Sig. I wondered if Nashat and Enoch were old friends. We entered the warp holding our breaths, praying for a bit of luck chasing far behind the pirate ship.

“They are likely going to Port Isra.” Nashat said breaking the silence. She seemed to be speaking mostly to herself as she stares out the front window. “But no one knows where Port Isra is…”

“The ship?” Hodor suddenly asked.

I crooked one eyebrow at him, as did Nashat. I tried not to giggle at Hodor’s confusion as Nashat managed to keep her composure.

“The port… Port Isra. I used to be a pirate once upon a time. They spoke of the secret pirate port but I never went there myself.”

I glanced over at her curiously, but she did not share much more. I had a hard time imagining her as a pirate but I suppose that was in another life. I guess I could relate. We all had secrets in our pasts.. We all used to lead different lives as different people. All of us now are not the same as we once were. Hell even this ship used to have a different life. The only reason we even had a chance to pull this off was that Titansbane used to be a feared pirate ship decades and decades ago.

We exited the warp without issue and made it out not long after the pirate ship did. Nyx was a flippin badass. We emerged near another small cluster of asteroids and the ship we were in pursuit of took off as two additional ships started approaching. It took us awhile before we were able to defeat the ships, I feared that the Titansbane’s shields were going to give out but we prevailed. We scanned the area and got back a reading of about 100-200 other ships nearby.. I think we had indeed made it to Port Isra. We messaged the frigate to retreat as we headed to the port.

Isra laid spread out in a crater. We approached unopposed and mostly unnoticed. I guess pirates were accustomed to random fights breaking out often. We landed without an issue and quickly filed out into the crater. The air felt stale and dusty and the gravity was very low here. We wandered the port to an area where giant spires towered up over everything. A giant red spiral swirled around in the sky and scarlet lights were lit all around. People wandered around in masks and Nashat explained that they were celebrating a sort of day of demons, The Festival of the Red Storm, celebrated every 10 years. Purchasing masks for ourselves, we easily blended with the crowd and looked around for Sigmund or Enoch. We spotted a small group of people being herded into a merchant shop. That’s likely where we wanted to be. Trying to sneak our way closer to the building another commotion caught our attention before we could go any farther. Large beasts about 12 foot tall were being lead through the crowd on large chains. I stood on my tip toes to get a better look and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Pandais! Pandais of all different sizes. Super large and itty bitty ones like my pandai were being led into the building next door to where we were trying to go. Zarko looked over to Krieger and I saw him give a thumbs up. We had found our way in.

So the plan was quickly thrown together and it could have gone a lot better. Krieger went with Zarko and Hodor to “purchase” a giant pandai as I snuck over to the gate to try and open up the pen of large pandai to create a diversion. I caught bits and pieces of conversation as I slipped by. It sounded as if Zarko was speaking on behalf of “richman Kriegman” who has decided he needed to require a giant pandai with all his wealth.

“What do they eat exactly?” Zarko asked the man. He was lowering his voice and trying to sound super important and pompous.

I smirked as I listened. This was hilarious to listen to. The guard started to drone off in an uninterested voice and I crept closer to the pandai pen and got to work trying to open the latch. It creaked slightly, as I struggled with the mech, and the guard went to turn to me as Zarko loudly asked.

“How big are their poops?”

I clapped a hand over my mouth not to laugh out loud. He was not very good at this. Distracted, I failed to open the latch again and the gate made a loud CLANK.

“Oi! What are you doing over there?” The guard angry yelled at me.

“Sorry, I tripped!”

He didn’t seem convinced and shouted again to some other guards nearby.

“Run!” Nashat yelled and we all scattered.

Everyone made it safety away but Hodor, who was snatched and drug into the building. As I ran to the crowd, I got grabbed from behind and held in a headlock. I kicked and wriggled in desperation, barely managing to scrabble out of grasp, and disappeared into the crowd. I heard a gun shot but didn’t look to see which guard had been shot. Nashat snuck up near me and pulled my arm leading me away to an alleyway.

“We need to get you in there…” she said quietly.

Before I knew what was happening, Nashat roughed me into some smelly fabric she had somehow acquired, and pulled a hood up on my head covering my shaggy red hair. I reached up and felt the top of my head and touched one nub attached to the hood and then another nub on the opposite side. Realizing that Nashat had just changed me into a pandai, I grinned realizing her plan. Adjusting the hood and crouching down on all fours, I looked up at her and nodded.

“Lets do this!”

Nashat succeeded in selling me to the men and they shoved me into the pen without hesitation. I discovered a feeding door that led inside the building and managed to get it open as I released a bunch of baby pandai inside the building. It was a good diversion; I was able to climb inside an air vent as guards quickly heard the baby pandais rummaging around the room and knocking things over and rushed to return them to their pen.

Finding Sigmund was proving to not be an easy task. I managed to escape the vents and meet up with Zarko and Krieger. We managed to find the captured Hodor and fight our way our of the pandai building but not before releasing the giant pandais out into the port. We snuck inside the building next door by traveling across the roofs. The building lie empty as we spotted a large shipping truck pulling away out back which led to a short car chase. Zarko did some crazy Fast and the Furious shit and jumped on the back of the semi and crawled along until he was at the back of the cab. As I drove the small car I had acquired, accompanied by Hodor and Krieger, I watched at Zarko smashed the back window and shoved his gun through the window and put it to the drivers head forcing him to stop the vehicle.

We found Sigmund and Enoch in the back and took the truck back to the Titansbane with a few captured men who decided to stay with us. Upon arriving at the Titansbane we found that Nashat had not returned after the release of the pandai. A search party of Hodor, Krieg, Zarko, and I went out, so the others could regain their strength, and it was not long until Nashat was found. We saw her being dragged away by one of the snatchers and we stealthily chased behind, weaving through the crowd as quickly as possible without drawing attention upon ourselves. It was a bad fight. Hodor tried using an ability that caused himself and Kriegers consciousness to switch bodies. Two men had me pinned down in an area and it didn’t fair well. I honestly don’t remember the fight that well. I know I was getting shot at. I don’t remember if there was an explosion. I remember briefly seeing a delivery craft and the men fighting to get Nashat back. A lot of my memory is fading in and out of consciousness. Once Hodor and Krieger regained control of their bodies, and Nashat was saved, they return to the boxes where I had been pinned previously. I guess I had somehow managed to hide away in between some crates and they found me there lying in blood. Gun shots and a broken arm, barley able to stay awake from blood loss and pain, my friends got me back to the infirmary where I had not left that long ago. I lay there drifting to sleep as I thought about our little adventure.

As I was led aboard our ship, I remember a feeling of… something. A slight feeling of something as we were boarding and leaving Port Irsa…. Oh nope. That’s just vomit. Excuse me, while I go throw up.

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Personal Log 834.M41 Titansbane, Port Isra

//THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: A TASK WORTH DOING IS WORTH DYING FOR//

Once again the burden of leadership has fallen to me.

Lord Tew has informed me that his retinue and support are pulling out of Footfall. I am to be left alone, without support, surrounded by hostiles and tasked with the impossible.

Pretty standard affair really.

I welcome the challenge, as is my duty to the Emperor, I feel once again that I have purpose. Though during the Crusade there was a clear line between enemy and ally. Here the line is very much blurred and I still do not yet know whom I can trust.

Perhaps I can no longer afford the luxury of trusting anyone.

In the search for allies I spoke with Sigmund on the truth of my position and duty.

He seemed to take the revelation well, all things considered.

It seems we both share a common quarry.

It was that Witch that convinced me to speak up… Nyx as well. She granted him a boon in the form of the Holy Tarot that even he can read. I find it very uncomfortable knowing that the blind man can now see into the depths of ones soul. They both could see what I was, and was a matter of time till he spoke with Sigmund.

Though I will admit, I am finding it hard to adjust to my new duties. My job now required subtlety and inquiry. To talk and question. I don’t do talk. I don’t do subtle.

I’m blunt like an Earthshaker. Hammer of the Emperor and all that.

This was apparent here on Port Isra. After Sig was captured by pirates and we made chase here to to this retched hive of scum and villainy, acquiring information proved to be difficult at the best of times. I’ve always prefered passive observation to active inquiry, and my skills at speaking proved insufficient and we soon attracted unwanted attention. Thankfully, Zarko was able to “convince” one of the men to point us in the correct direction. Honestly, how does Sigmund manage to get information so easily?

We were able to thwart a plot to ransom rogue traders, rescuing several along side Sigmund and a man named Enoch Demidicus, a merchant working with Nashat Mathana. Perhaps saving his life will help cement Sigmund and my working relationship.

I’m concerned for Kayp. When we were trying to rescue Miss Mathana after she had been captured as well he took a serious hit in the arm and fled. Truthfully, had we not been short on bodies and pressed for time I would rather not have seen him put in such a position. He is no soldier, and that shows when we talk about dealings with the pirates. He seems concerned by that fact. I will have to speak with him once we leave this place.

And then there is Zarko. Recklessness has its limits and by all accounts he should be dead. Breaking cover and charging straight at the enemy, without cover or distraction, it was only by the grace of the Emperor that he wasn’t smeared across that dockyard by sustained gunfire. One day I fear his reckless disregard for his own safety will catch up to him and I pray he is not the only one watching my back when it does.

Also Hodor. He smells. I shall advise him that he should cleanse himself more regularly.

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Titansbane-834.M41-0708: Fault Tolerance

Emir let out a heavy sigh.

Sitting on a crate, his torso slumped over his desk, his jacket in a heap on the floor, he stares at the almost empty bottle of Reinka in his left hand. The all-too-familiar low-light of his cathedral casts an almost ephemeral glow on the widening ullage in the glass.

He knows its late, that the crew is meeting sometime in the next day cycle with that female predator – Nashat Muthana, yeah that one. The one that took the girls from that slave ring he busted. That drug-den leader that seduced Sigmund. The crew is practically in her pocket.

There are a lot of players here in the expanse, do we have the power to leverage all of them? Certainly not immediately, that’s for damn sure, Emir mused.

Emir lets out another sigh. His head still hurts from his ruptured eardrums and fresh stubber holes in his arm. A few hours of medicae can certainly take the sting from bullet holes, but it doesn’t reduce the dull thud of anger followed by an equally indignant migraine.

He opened his eyes a bit wider, his mind adrift, and thought back to the events earlier:

Shambling his way through the decks of the Titansbane, he finally found that mishappen old man, Hodor.

I’m not keeping you here. Hodor said, with a touch of indifference. And that was it.

In Sig’s cathedral; Emir has only ever seen Sigmund with that look twice before.
It was almost as if he briefly lost his composure, Emir muttered.

What did that Kriegsmen tell Sigmund beforehand? What exactly had she said to convince him that the shadow of the Emperor’s Wrath was a welcome thing on this dynasty?
Worse yet – 327 had kept this a secret this whole time. Sigmund hated betrayal even worse; Emir was stunned that no arms were drawn.

He scoffed:
I suppose its not too different than me playing the role of Rogue Trader.

She’s Inquisition. Sigmund said without looking at Emir. Sigmund’s eyes blazed with a kind of smoldering supposition. A hired gun alone wouldn’t be enough to take down that empire, but the wrath of the Inquisition? That’s something else entirely, Sigmund had said slowly; not once blinking.

I suppose we can use her, Emir thought. Then his anger swelled again.

If I wanted, 327 said purposely,
I could kill anyone in this retinue; I am a capable combatant.

Bitch.

I didn’t spend the better part of a sidereal being tortured by mutants to get killed by a two-bit zealot in a gas-mask.

However…I’m not dense enough to mess with the Inquisition, I’ve done that already, Emir said quietly.

I’ll have to convince her of our cause…of the importance of our dynasty.
But how?

Well, he can afford to be patient for now.

Then there was that event at the bar.

All I had wanted was to drink and ask some polite company regarding some not-so-polite business. Emir thought.

Instead I had to waste all the grenades in my coffer and almost bleed out.
At least the God-Emperor was altruistic enough to roll that whiskey near my boot, Emir grinned.

He deftly gripped the cork of the Reinka bottle and pulled it with his teeth, spitting the oblong piece to the floor. He took a long swig. Its taste reminded him of

Sand

Suddenly he remembered

Remembered the foul copper and grit taste of blood intermixed in sand.
The hulking, mutated figures standing above him, smelling of lead, diesel, and rot.

They were laughing, laughing at him, all the while he was convulsing and writhing on the sand.

GiVe mE tHaT dEfIaNt lOoK aGaIn, GuArDsMan, the creature with two mouths spat,
aNd I’lL fLaY tHe sKiN fRoM yOuR bAcK; yOu’lL nEvEr sTaNd uP StRaIgHt aGaIn.

Emir paused at the memory, knuckles white and his hands shaking. Then drew the Reinka bottle away from his lips and hurled it down with all the force he could muster.

He closed his eyes.

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Kayp Log 14
No mini corndogs but lots of gernades

We took the job to help Zulfikar track down the pirates who have been intercepting his ships. I was antsy to leave, wondering if these pirates were in anyway related to Kassius’s disappearance, although that was unlikely. But any ray of hope, any clue I could find, I would chase it to galaxies end. I wandered into the bridge and plopped down in my seat lost in thought. I frowned as I realized that someone had messed with the adjustments to my chair but thoughts of pirates still clouded my thoughts. I absentmindedly flipped the levers and leaned forward in my seat, getting it just the way I liked it, when Nyx touched my shoulder causing me to jump a foot in the air.

“You alright?” He asked sitting on the armrest.

“Yeah, just lost in thought.” I answered but offering no more. I wasn’t in the mood to talk about Kassius. Ever in my thoughts, I didn’t udder his name aloud often. What would happen if we managed to find where he was anyhow? If he caught wind of some “young man” looking for him he would go into hiding. He wouldn’t know it was me…

BZZTBZZTBZZT. I jumped again as did Nyx.

“What is that?!” He asked his head tilted in the direction of my arm.

“Its my alarm! Someone is stealing crackers!” I jumped up and took off to my technomat; as I turned the corner, I noticed Nyx slide down into my seat and lean the back of the chair way back.

So that’s who has been in my chair. I smiled amused as kept up the pace down the corridor.

I was too late. I spotted the damned Snotling for a moment before he was out the door and jammed into a hole in the wall I never noticed before. He took all the crackers and broke my jar sensor on his way out.

“Why didnt you do anything?” I grumped at the pandai. He gave me an offended look and wandered off to bed. I rolled my eyes and went back to the bridge.

Finally I had a task! The crew all headed out to port and we separated to find information about Zulfikars shipments. Sigmund’s trip to the city records hadn’t gone well, and as much as I was annoyed we had another set back, I was relieved I actually had something I could help out with. The crew gathered information and brought it to me. I hopped on a terminal at the dock, and I looked into any records I could find related to any of the ship names I had listed already. I eventually found some manifests lists and sent them off to Sigmunds data pad. With some more pushing on the right people, we tracked down word of a man of interest. Tracking down the bar where he was supposedly located was relatively easy. Maybe too easy? I pushed the thought aside. We were only looking to get info; surely everything would be fine. We collected to an alleyway across from the bar and I suggested Nyx and I go in first to find a seat and blend with the crowd. Sigmund and Emir could do some smooth talking and Zarko would be backup incase things got rowdy. I was feeling very confident.. and a little excited. Nyx and I would be able to eat out. Kinda. Like a date! Kinda.. And we could just eavesdrop and see what this man had to say while the man thought Sig was out of earshot. This was going to be awesome.

Linking my arm in Nyx’s, I practically skipped and couldn’t help but grin,” Would you like to go to dinner?”

We entered the bar and found a seat at one of the tables. Looking around, women in long flowy red dresses wandered from table to table, taking orders and delivering food. The room was long and the bar stood in the center of the room where a bartender took orders and what looked like the owner stood studying a stack of papers. She glanced up for a moment as we took a seat but seemed to find us uninteresting and went back to her business. Naked women could be seen across the room entertaining a group of men and lingering outside some nearby private back rooms. I soon noticed a man staring at us. I put on a smile and kept my attention on Nyx trying to play off casually that we were just there to eat. Nyx seemed to have lost his easygoing mood from earlier. It saddened me when we had to come back to reality. I wished I could keep silly giggly Nyx with me all the time. I loved hearing his laugh.

A woman wandered over and asked us what we would like to order.

“Mini corndogs!” I said a little too excitedly. I forgot what Nyx ordered.. I was very excited to not eat ship food. Looking past Nyx’s right ear, I glanced at the man at the other table. He was still staring at us, eyes ablaze and jaw set in a scowl.

“I don’t think he is happy to see us…”

Suddenly, as if someone flicked a switch about half of the people milling around the bar got up and started to exit the bar. The women, clothed and not, quickly disappeared into the kitchen, no doubt exiting out the back alleyway.

“I don’t think the corndogs are very good here.” I tried to joke, as Nyx stood up and walked to the bar.

I watched Nyx approach the bar and speak to the woman there with all her paperwork.

“What did you do?!” I heard her whisper loudly to Nyx.

“We did nothing.. But you should leave..” Nyx said without emotion.

“Please try to leave something behind.” The woman said almost pleadingly and gathered her things.

Emir entered and came to rest at the bar not far from where Nyx stood. I glanced from Emir to the man, as he seemed to try to catch Emir on fire with just his gaze. The next few moments were a stare off between the man and his booth of henchmen and Emir, Nyx, and I. My gaze kept shifting from the man to Nyx and Emir. How long would we sit here frozen in time?

I’m not sure exactly sure what tipped the balance but suddenly a large crash (the door getting kicked in?), gun fire, followed by an immediate explosion from a grenade seemingly happened all at once. I ducked under the table, and took a moment to regain my bearings to figure out what was happening in the room, and most importantly figure out where Nyx went. Men posted up into the private room doorways on our right and straight across the room from us. I spotted Nyx crouched by the bar and he was barely shielded from gunfire on both sides. Crouched by the corner, he could neither advance one way or other without being in range of gun fire. Looking around for an idea, I frowned and finally glanced at the table I was beneath. I hesitated for a moment, trying to calculate how much the table might weigh, but if I was going to do something I needed to do it now. Jumping up, I mustered as much strength as I could, and attempted to throw the desk in Nyx’s direction. It was a lot heavier than I bargained for though so it lazily rolled over on its side. Unfazed I grabbed it by the edge and shouted out to Nyx as I rolled the table as hard as I could in his direction. He intercepted the rolling table and set it firmly in front of him blocking the gunfire from the men that were past the bar from us previously. I rolled over to him and also crouched down behind the table.

Before I had the chance to plan my next move, a grenade landed on the floor between Sigmund and myself. When did he get here? I dove away from Nyx and managed to make it away unscathed. The man that was glaring at us from the start, ran up to the bar without fear, and plopped a huge firearm on the counter and pointed it at Sigmund and I. Trying to decided where to go next with men approaching from ahead and to the right, Sigmund darted forward and jumped over the bar counter and landed swiftly on the other side. He quickly made it to the other side of the bar and lunged forward at the man, slashing with his sword reaching out over the countertop. The man stumbled back but not quite fast enough. The sword slashed open the man’s shirt and cut a line across his chest. I spotted the gun still on the counter. If I was fast enough, I could grab it and pull it on the ground behind the bar and away from the man. This fight could be over as quickly as it started. I took a running leap at the bar without hesitation; if Sig could make that jump there is no way I would fail. Landing swiftly on the other side, I aimed for the gun but came up a bit too slow. The man dodged another swing from Sigmund, snatched up his gun under one arm, and dropped and gernade on the ground behind the bar as he retreated backwards. Distracted by a man coming up on the right, I managed to dodge a couple rounds from him as Sigmund dove away from me and the grenade. Unsteady from trying to not get shot, I failed to move away fast enough and the grenade exploded at my feet. I should have been dead. Was I dead? My back up against the back of the bar, I struggled to stand, and swiped the back of my hand across my face. Blood. I shakingly looked down inspecting my body. Everything seemed to still be intact. Blown to shit; but intact.

Frozen, I watched in slow mo as Zarko ran up to the man and started punching away at the man. I hope he didn’t kill him. We needed information that he had…

Nyx. Was Nyx alright? I sluggishly turned my head to the table I knocked down earlier. Nyx was standing, undeterred from the gunfight surrounding him, staring in the direction the man with a deadly fire in his black eyes. His gun was aimed at the man’s head. He shot three times and each shot found its mark. The man was dead… I did my best to roll myself up and over the counter to where Nyx was and he helped me to the ground. He held me close and I may have passed out for a moment or two. I couldn’t hear the gunfire any longer and I’m not sure if that was a good or bad thing. I touched the side of my head and found more blood there. Nyx touched my arms and my legs, seeming checking to make sure everything still worked. If he said anything I couldn’t hear it.

The fight soon ebbed away and some of the men fled some of them fought till they died. One man left remaining. Sigmund tried making the man give them information. I did not want to be around for the actions that would be required to make a uncooperative man speak. I went out to the car.

At the Titansbane, I went to my technomat after getting patched up. I was feeling much better and didn’t feel like being around the others. A knock came from the door and I internally sighed in relief that I could actually hear it. Man, it would suck if I went deaf. I smirked a little at the thought of the deaf kid dating the blind kid. Hopefully that wasn’t in the cards. Krieger appeared from the corridor and stood in the room looking uncomfortable. It occurred to me that, besides her saving my life, we hadn’t spoken much to one another. She seemed to be having an internal struggle with words; to break the silence I snatched up the pandai who wandered up to inspect Kriegers boots.

“Have you seen a pandai before?” I said holding him up for Krieger to see. He waved a big dark paw at Krieger wiggling his little black nose happily.

“I understand the need to keep live rations but I am here to speak about something else…”

I frowned and hid the pandai behind my back and dropped him to the ground. I heard him dash underneath my desk but I kept my eyes on Krieger.

“An old woman in the port approached me and gave me this card.” She said, producing the card from her pocket. “ She said she was looking for someone who was blind.”

I frowned but before I could say anything in response Nyx came through the door. Before I knew what was happening Nyx was agreeing to go with Krieger out in Port Footfall to meet with this strange woman.

“You’re not going without me. “ I said firmly; wary from our bad encounter from the bar.

“That would be a bad idea. If they were asking for me they will be upset of others show up. They may even retreat or not share with us information we might need.”

“This makes me unhappy…” I knew he was right but I couldn’t help but worry.. I looked to Krieger and decided it was a fight I would not win. Nyx had made up his mind and I knew I couldn’t stop him. A memory flashed across my mind of Krieger lunging in front of me during the car chase from so long ago and taking multiple shots in the chest to save my life… I knew Nyx would be safe with her. I folded my arms across my chest but said no more as they departed. I slumped down in my chair tired and upset.

Shortly after my radio buzzed at me. I thought about ignoring it but turned the dial to raise the volume and heard Sigmund’s voice on the other end.

“Kayp, we retrieved a datapad from the bar but it is damaged and I need you to look at it for me. Please come here and retrieve it and see what you can find out about it.” He said all business.

“Well them bring it here.” I said grumpily, staring at the ground.

“I told you to come here and retrieve it from ME.” He said, sounding on the edge of irritation.

“In order for me to analize it it would be faster if you just brought it to my technomat.” I said firmly.

There was silence over the radio and I tensed a little anxious that I had overstepped my bounds. A heavy sigh preceded the silence.

“Fine.”

I grinned at the small victory. Soon Sigmund arrived, handing me a sorry excuse of a datapad. It had a bullet in the top corner of it and the screen was frozen on the last bit of information that had been brought up. I clicked a couple of buttons and drug my finger across the screen to no avail. I went to one of my electronic bins and quickly found a blank pad I had kicking around for a spare. I successfully uploaded the data to the new pad and soon started to sort through the files.

“I don’t really see anything hidden inside the software.” I muttered, scrolling through pages and pages of information. “Most of this looks like inventory lists or rosters of some kind. Some of them seem incomplete..”

Sigmund stayed for a bit longer looking through some of the sheets with me. He thinks there might be a mole somewhere in Zulfikars territory on Footfall. I offered to plant a GPS device in the datapad, and use it as bait to see if we could get the mole to steal the pad, and reveal their location. Sigmund denied the plan for now, saying we might return to this idea later on in the future. Whatever he had planned, he didn’t seem keen on sharing at the moment. I didn’t push him. My thoughts were starting to trail back to Nyx wandering around who knows where out in the streets. He left soon after and I left shortly after and found myself headed to one of the ground vehicles.

Where you going, Kayp? I silently scolded myself. I don’t know but I can at least park out front of the Titansbane for a quick response time if Nyx and Krieger run into trouble.

While sitting outside Emir walks up with a light stick in one hand. He smoked and bullshitted with me for a bit before seeing a group of military men and wandering off to talk tough with them. Soon Nyx and Krieger approached from the darkness and I couldn’t help but grin as Nyx approached.

“What are you doing out here?” He asked suspiciously.

“Oh, I uh… I was going to give Emir a ride somewhere but he, uh, wanted to go smoke with the guys for a bit first..” I said unprepared for the question and a bit embarrassed to tell the truth that I was very worried. “Do you want a ride inside?”

Nyx narrowed his eyes suspiciously and walked around the side of the car and got in the front seat. “I’ll take the ride but I don’t believe you..”

I grinned as I drove up the ramp to the Titansbane. Happy and relieved that my best friend has returned to me safety.

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