The Rainwalkers

For some reason, I think of home

“He doesn’t seem like a bad person,” Kayp says quietly, and I’m not sure if she meant for anyone to hear it.

It’s been an hour and Vult hasn’t budged, hasn’t broken. Krieger is frustrated to the point of violence, Inaja is disappointed, and Emir—well, Emir enjoys this kind of thing.

This is all just a fucking game, little one.

The door slides open and the room falls silent.

“Who the fuck is this.” No one. I’m nothing.

Emir gets up, his excitement nearly tangible, and I take his seat across from Vult. Krieger drags him out of the room, and Inaja follows, somewhat bewildered.

Vult sighs and sits back in his chair as I untie my blindfold. No fear, only defiance and a twisted sort of alacrity.

“The Ecclesiarchy bring the light and protection of the Emperor.” I close my eyes.

Breathe in through the nose, hold it, breathe out through the mouth. Look at your hands and focus. What do you see?

I see nothing, Mother. I always see nothing.

No, look. Look at the blood flowing through the veins. Look at how the bones fit together. Listen. Listen how the joints creak when they move. Feel the skin stretching and moving across the muscle and tendon. Remember your breathing.

“To defy the Church is to defy Him.”

This is all just a fucking game, little one. The sooner you understand your role in it, the easier it will be to play.

The room lights up with terror that lances out from Vult and hits me like a bolter round through my skull. He doesn’t scream, just breathes through clenched teeth until it becomes one long hiss of an exhale and I realize I haven’t breathed either.

“Ready to talk now?” I ask, hoping I don’t look as exhausted as I feel.

“Fuck you.” His voice is a soft rasp. Now he is afraid.

And he laughs. A violent, hysterical laugh that slowly turns to wailing as I bring the warp down upon his consciousness a second time. The smell of burning flesh. And I hear the voices in his, the ones I only hear in my darkest dreams in the warp or when the long tendrils of a storm pet at the sides of the Titansbane as one would touch the face of their lover— kill him, boil his insides, he deserves it, the Rippling Market, pull out his eyes, they’re at the market, kill him, please stop, please

And then it is over and my head is in my hands and Krieger is at my shoulder, saying something like you’ve done so well.

“Kill him,” I whisper. It’s unnecessary, he’ll be dead soon, and Emir says as much, but that bolt of pure agony and horror is still prodding at me, and Vult is moaning the market over and over in a daze, insanity gnawing at the corners of his mind.

“Please, Krieger.”

Emir pulls me to my feet, and I stumble from the room, fighting waves of nausea and wiping at my eyes.

The broken man’s soft, sobbing laughter is far louder than the single shot that ends his life.

Emperor save me, what have I done?

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Kayp Log 22

“..you are not a soldier… do not be like me.”

Krieger took the reins and I took a breath. I didn’t know whether to be relieved, that our experienced military companion was taking control of our dire situation, or worried. She had a way of doing things that… I could never do. Perhaps worried wasn’t the correct word either… Fearful… Maybe that word is a bit more fitting.

Things went from bad to worse and very very quickly.

“Tell us what you are doing.”

Krieger’s voice rang out commandingly as we stood in from of Vult, who’s back was flanked by the high paid surveyors that we had been searching for earlier in the day. Our search had let us here, where it was reported that an attack at the train yard was causing the Administratium grief. There seemed to be a static feeling in the air… Whether from the trains moving off toward the town, or the thick tension between the two parties, I couldn’t quite place the origin. My mind wandered from the conversation as I watched the trains start there race down the rails. Something wasn’t right.. I spotted some men in the empty cars wearing skelesuits, but as I opened my mouth to voice the observation, a quick movement from in front of me paralyzed me mid breath.

Krieger pulled out her pistol and shot at Vult! No, not at Vult.. at his vox caster. I watched wide eyed as the device crumbled out of his hand in seemingly slow motion. My heart racing in my ears, I watched as the men all scattered, they all turned slowly as if in some choreographed dance. Vult also turned to run and Inaja made a grab and quickly had him in a headlock. Things started to speed back up and the surveyors had covered quite a bit of distance between us. Vult kicked and tried to bite Inaja to escape from his grasp.

“We are not trying to hurt you!” I yelled helplessly at the man.

BANGBANGBANG

My words were drowned out by the death call from Emir’s gun. Two of the three surveyors dropped to the ground and I stood gaping in silence. We only came to ask questions.. What was happening?

Standing in the middle of the train yard we quickly realized how dire of a situation we found ourselves in. Trains whizzed past and some of the men in the skelesuits jumped out of them to greet us. Welding weapons, I’m sure weighed more than Nyx and I put together, they surrounded us at all sides. Now we played the most dangerous game of chess; where the trains moved across the board in a straight line, the skelesuits moved diagonally toward our group, and us.. The pawns who couldn’t seem to get away fast enough.

Was this a game we could win? Was preventing this war something we could win? Was saving Zulfikars life a fight we could win?

I was never very good at chess…

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So I punched Sigmund
Whoops.

I looked around the courtyard. There weren’t many people wandering around, though whether that was due to the proximity to Nestor’s “shop” or just because it was the middle of the night, I couldn’t say.
I had been in this area many times before on jobs, though I always made sure to keep my distance. Nestor is known to be a friendly enough man, but some of the exotic wares he peddles leave many scarred. Or worse, for the unlucky.
It’d been only two months since I came back to work, the repetition and familiarity comforting. I was good at my job too, and well known for it. Actually, thinking about it now, my infamous reputation was probably more responsible for the emptiness of the courtyard than anything else. Lose control a few times and rumors spread fast, and grow into absurdity. By last telling I heard, I had decimated a small town on the outskirts of the city, without ever using a weapon.
I’m a big mean guy, but still. Who could believe that?
I looked over my shoulder, the warehouse staring back at me past the trees like a cat looking over a table, just the eyes and ears visible.
The treasure hunter. That was supposed to be the end of it. I was going to get out. We were going to get out. Not even a note…

I was so busy getting lost in my thoughts, that I almost didn’t see the cloaked figure frantically enter the shop after seeing me. Almost.

The knock on the door was polite. Gentle. I’ve found staying calmer than the mark always helps to unnerve them more.

No answer.

Knock again

No answer.

“Nestor,” I said, almost sing-song. “I just want to talk. I work for an interested party. You’ve been dealing in trades with the wrong crowd, let me put you on the right path.”

Silence.

“Nestor, I don’t enjoy doing this… Okay, maybe I enjoy it a bit. I wasn’t always going to keep doing this though, I had my leave all planned out. It didn’t work. I mention this just to make it clear that I am not that same man that you’ve heard about. That man had compassion, tough as it may be to believe. That man had a future. I do not. You can open the door on your own, or I will provide assistance.”

The door cracked open and the hooded figure staring through, one of his eyes shining unnaturally.

“What do you want?” he rasped.

“To negotiate your services away from your current beneficiaries and steer you towards mine,” and with that, I shoved the door open the rest of the way, Nestor falling to the ground.

The inside of the shop definitely failed to live up to the stories. I guess I’m not the only one who’s nature has been inflated from rumors. Sure, there were some interesting pieces, some obviously rare and expensive weapons, artifacts of indeterminate use and value, and other odds and ends. The rest just looked like junk.

Nestor picked himself back up and fixed me with a hard, unblinking stare. The artificial eye looked to be installed out of necessity rather than want. Scars along his face, and a cataract in his real eye looked to be the result of some explosion. The eyelids around the artificial eye were nowhere to be found, so even had he wanted to blink, he couldn’t.

“I suppose you’re here to tie up the loose ends, well be done with it. I’ve made my peace.”

“What?” I asked, suddenly caught off guard. “What do you mean tie up loose ends? I haven’t killed anyone recently, except for maybe that treasure hunter a few weeks back.”
I scratched the back of my head, “Is that who you’ve been helping? The treasure hunter? Malik isn’t going to like that at all,” I trailed off.

Nestor’s eye never left me, “Treasure hunter? That’s all you have to say? I know you Zarko Ilmatar,” he said, shaking a finger at me. “I know you better than you think. That ‘treasure hunter’,” he spit the words, “was my daughter. You killed her and you didn’t even have the fucking decency to do it to her face.”

I was stunned. Not only was Nestor in league with the treasure hunter, he was related to him. Erm, her.

“What should I care about some meddlesome woman? That was supposed to be my last job and then I’d be gone from this shithole of a planet for good, with the only person I cared about. I would have done anything to get that. Your daughter’s life was a small price to pay. But it didn’t work out for me-” I cut my thoughts short, realizing my anger was growing too quickly. Calm down Zarko. You’re here to do a job. Just do it, and then you can leave.

Nestor recoiled slightly, I imagine the look on his face was the same I had worn just moments earlier.

“You don’t know?” he asked, tears welling up in is real eye.


I’m standing over Sigmund screaming, three men holding me back.

“Get the fuck off of me!” I yell, looking around. They don’t listen.

Sigmund scrambled to his feet, getting in a fighting stance. Seeing the confusion in my face, he relaxed his fists and stood up straighter, rubbing his eye. I must’ve hit him.

“You okay, Zarko? What’s going on?”

Looking around wildly, I realize I’m on the Titansbane. I relaxed and the men hesitated, but let go of me. “Yeah I’m fine, I just got lost in my head. I’m feeling a little cramped between spending all our time here on the Titansbane and on Footfall I guess. Cabin fever. I’m going out in the Outlaw for a few hours, vox if you need me. Sorry about the eye.”

I walked away, partly out of embarrassment, but mostly to avoid drawing out the conversation.

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Personal Log 834.M41 JS-21-3-ext-Koronus, High Orbit

//THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: THE PATH OF DAMNATION IS OFT PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS//

I understand why Emir so often finds solace in these bottles. The weight of current events have left me cold inside and, if only for a moment, the drink manages to warm me.

I killed a man recently. This is not unusual as I have killed lots of men.

It was a man I did not know. He was a fanatic, a radical heretic, a monster.

Or so I convinced myself.

I’ve read the report and documents the Ecclesiarchy provided on the man. I see myself in him. An honorable man, devout and determined, full of purpose and attempting to further the cause of humanity.

Lord Confessor Grimwaldus was a good man.

And I killed him. I put a bolt round through his head.

He has ties to our current situation, but all records of his activities on Footfall were destroyed. If i see Hodor again, I may shoot him.

The political situation is dire. We are merely proxies for larger powers with interests in the Expanse and this planet is but a small, if not important part of that political war. Our choices here will have consequences and we will make enemies.

After reviewing our situation, I have resolved myself. I know what I would choose to do, and I will be speaking with the crew about my decision and I’m concerned.

My decision will be seen as harsh, perhaps cruel and heavy handed. I am willing to shoulder the blame for what must be done.

But what has me worried is the crew. Several of them trust me, and I’m told many of them consider me a friend.

When they know what I have resolved to do, will they think me a fanatic? A monster?

Will they look at me the same way they looked at Grimwaldus?

Maybe one more drink to resolve myself.

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Kayp Log Drinking Age
These Three Kings are Starting a War.

Three doors stood open,
Mysterious people standing there.
A familiar uniform, a thick trench coat,
And woman with no hair.

“Greetings, do not tell us your names,
For we will not tell you ours.
We will only tell you what is relevant.
We do not discuss past battle scars.”

The meeting was short,
Soon we filed back out into bar.
This plan was not going so well..
So much for flying under the radar.

We went back to the Titansbane,
This whole day has been like a bad dream.
Her words kept echoing in my head.
“Unseat Zulfikar Reheem.”

Well, we do what we do.
We break laws but we are loyal.
Zarko went to Zulfikar’s,
“Theyre trying to kill ya, boyo.”

But he was not there,
Janoor said he was out.
We went to find a psyker,
To give him a shout out.

We went to a place full of drugs,
Looking for someone to hire.
We gave a handful of money to him,
He asked what it was we desired.

“We are looking to deliver a message.”
“Tell me who its for.”
“His name is Zulfikar Reheem.”
“Never heard of this man before.”

Zarko put two syringes in his hand,
“Maybe this will help.”
“I already said I’d do it!”
He said then injected himself.

He asked for the message,
Only a second it took…
Would the message really go through?
Smudde had to check the rule book.

The message was simple,
“Important! Meet us at designated planet.”
We stopped off at a Mechanicus Facility.
Emir needed an arm, dammit.

A female named Helena Beltrix came to greet us.
She was odd and wore black,
Kind of reminds me of something…
Oh yeah that Harry Potter chap!
(Helena Bonham Carter played Belltrix Lestrange, duh.)

We got what we needed,
Krieger a fancy scope and Emir and arm.
Time to shove off,
We needed to keep Zulfikar from harm.

Almost to the meeting point,
An SOS blip on the map.
This was gonna waste our time…
This was also likely a trap…

Stranded people on a ship,
We gotta catch save em all.
Trips back and forth with transports.
Warning alarms filled the hall.

Savage alien ships underway!
Time to go! Leave the rest!
Just kidding no men were left.
Hot damn! We are the best!

There was a fight!
Found ourselves in another quagmire.
But the GM was rolling bad,
Smudde didn’t start the fire!

We made it to the planet,
They wouldn’t let us planet side.
There is a war down there!
They ended up letting us cause we lied.

Ecclesiarcy needs a church.
Oh hey, we can build that!
Minors need food and water.
Oh hey, we can get that!

In the middle with all this turmoil,
Who will win? Who will lose?
Someone is gonna get mad…
We need to figure out who we need to schmooze.

We sneak Vult food and water.
He seems like an okay rebel.
We need to build a warehouse,
And disguise it as a bethel.

Lots to do…
What if the balance is tipped?
We cannot get killed here.
This planet cannot be our crypt.

At the brink of war three parties lie,
Nothing is looking good so far.
How did we end up in the middle?
And where the fuck is Zulfikar?

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Kayp Log 20
Meeting the club we dont want to join

“I’ve been told not to let you leave.”

A hulking man with a long billowing cloak stepped out from behind the tall dark pillars of the cathedral. Two large men also stepped out of the darkness at either side of him; it looked straight up like the end scene of a season finale of your favorite Netflix show. (Not that I know what Netflix is because you know…. Koronus Expanse aint got time for that.) He introduced himself as Grim Waldus and nothing we could say mattered to this man. He had his own agenda and we had no part in his world, as far as he was concerned. In one hand, he held a mighty staff that he slammed to the ground in a grand gesture of intimidation. It totally worked… The top of the staff held a large neon orange orb, upon the impact with the ground, a field of orange light spread around the man in a sort of force field. It wasn’t looking great.

A loud cranking sound could be heard from the back of the room. An elevator door slid open, that I had not noticed until this point, and a mob of strung out drug addicts came rushing at our group. Krieger shouted at the man, but I don’t remember what he had said, my eyes were locked on the crowd piling out of the small metal doors. The man let out roaring laughter and disappeared behind some pillars once more, allowing the mob to run straight for us. My heart sank. What a poor excuse of a life these people had become… No matter how hard this life was, I would never become as these people were.

The fight was fierce, but what they had in numbers, we had in strength and cunning. These people didn’t seem to be all there; just useless pawns for the slaughter. And slaughter we did. It made me sick. Zarko and Krieger headed to Grimwaldus and I tried to keep an eye on them, as well as the long hallway of pillars that Nyx and I were holding down. We had to protect the left flank of the group so these madmen could not get behind us. All these damn pillars were making it extremely difficult to keep track of all the various fights happening throughout the room. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Krieger run forward and aim at our foe. Shots bounced away from Waldus, his force field invisible and seemingly untouched by our weapons.

“The staff!” I shouted in my microbead. “I think the staff is what is keeping his force field intact!”

Dodging a bullet that whizzed by, I slammed my back against the pillar I was using for cover, just in time to see Inaja charge Grimwaldus. Close by Zarko stood no longer ducking for cover; he grabbed a syringe out of his side leg pocket and jammed the needle into his arm. Closing his eyes and taking a deep breathe he slammed the now empty syringe to the ground, letting out an angry roar… Well heres hoping he doesn’t keel over in the middle of this fight… He charged after Inaja. In an insane fight of fists and grapples, somehow Zarko had managed to lock Grimwaldus’s arms behind his back and wrench his staff away, throwing it down the hallway of pillars back to where Krieger held down the right side of the room. Krieger rolled to retrieve the staff, and took down a couple of addicts who had managed to slip by the front of the group, in one graceful maneuver. It was like watching a complicated dance; a very deadly dance.

Spotting new men entering the room, I took cover behind another pillar, to get a better shot and shouted to Nyx to follow. He took a couple of shots, falling some more men, and followed behind me. We were slowing advancing through the room; many lay dead all over the building. The elevator disappeared back up the way it came. Hopefully no one else was on the way..

A few man got past my shots and soon they were upon Nyx and I. One man shot at me but I managed to dodge at the last second. That look on Nyx’s face returned… That look of pure rage, and I couldn’t help but flinch. I was unharmed but he would not let this man live. I knew that look.. I had seen it before when Nyx shot the man in the face at the bar. Recognizing that Nyx would no longer be as self-preserving as his rational self, I quickly ran back to him from my pillar to hopefully take out at least one of the men before anything bad happened. Before I could come to Nyx’s aid, he opened his third eye and vaporized the man where he stood. I quickly grabbed his hand in mine and held it tightly, leading us to a better vantage spot closer to the others. The elevator returned and another mob of crazy strung out men had arrived. I watched as the door slowly slid open revealing a brawl had broken out insode the elevator. What was happening? The men eventually figured out their shit and started to come fight us, but they were not proper fighters. Very quickly, they had either killed each other, or had been perished by one of our crew. I smiled as I realized this fight was almost over. Grimwaldus was overwhelmed and soon there would be no one left to fight us.

BOOM! Grimwaldus threw a grenade and I jumped caught unaware of where it had landed. Wide eyed, I spotted Zarko unfazed and I became relieved. Red smoke emitted from the location of the bang and before I could question whether or not I should hold my breath, I could no longer breathe at all. The world turned black as Nyx and I fell together to the ground. I died… and I dreamt of Kassius.

I awoke to Kriegers gas mask in my face. I thanked her and quickly looked around for Nyx. He lay with Emir hovering over him. It looked as though he was also stirring awake. It seemed we would not leave this world today.

We found computers standing it tall racks at the back of the room. I circled around them surveying all the equipment and dreading the security these monsters likely had hidden in their metal cases of circuitry. Forming a game plan was all for not, as Hodor stepped up to one of our survivors and tried to force information from him. He let out a loud, “HEEEEEEEEEH” and electricity seemed to shoot out from everywhere in his lumpy body. The computers burned up without a moment hesitation.

Returning to the ship, I longed to return to my quarters grab my pandai and lay down with Nyx and sleep for a few days but Sigmund had other plans. I would have stayed behind but Nyx heard there would he fine drink and so I had to go to watch over him. He really cannot hold his booze… We went. We dined. Nyx drank. Inaja somehow talking the servers into getting him an entire cow part at the table. I have no idea how he plans on eating such a large piece of animal.. I guess I underestimated this fellows appetite. Returning to the Titansbane late that evening, Sigmund, Zarko, Inaja, and Krieger led our group down the corridor of our home. Nyx and I trailed behind, and I did my best to make sure he didn’t fall over. I only caught bits and pieces of the conversation ahead of me as I tried to shush Nyx from loudly singing tales of a elephant who wanted to swim to Italy. (I still have no idea what an elephant is…)

“You would, of course, be paid a fair wage along with the rest of our crew.” Sigmund was saying to Inaja as he handing him a datapad from his cloak.

“Well… I be meaning, I guess I do not need to be the leaving right now..” Inaja replied, turning the datapad curiously in his giant white paws.

“We have low standards,” Zarko said giving Inaja a thumbs up and his award winning grin.

“I guess I could be the staying…” Inaja said, trying to return the thumbs up to Zarko and failing.

“We could even get a large keyboard for him to nap on,” I snickered mostly to myself.

Nyx didn’t seem to hear and I looked over just in time to see him struggling to open the new bottle of booze he convinced me to let him bring. I gently managed to wrestle it away and he put out his lip in an adorable pout.

“You can have this after we have a nap ourselves.” I said laughing and pulling my pouting partner close to my side. “Lets go to the infirmary for one more night, okay?”

We arrived at the infirmary, as the guys started to get a bit.. rowdy. Nyx tried to snatch the bottle of booze from me as I became distracted but I easily pulled it away from his grasp. Zarko suddenly punched Krieger, and I quickly slipped the bottle to a confused nurse, as Nyx’s attention was diverted to the small scrap happening in the corridor.

“Hide this for me, please.” I whispered and the nurse grinned and nodded.

Inaja suddenly jumped between Krieger and Zarko yelling for them to stop fighting as the crowd got larger and larger. I grinned as I watched the confused giant cat try to fix the nonexistent fight that was happening between friends. Zarko punched Inaja in the chin and Krieger hit him from the side.

“Hit us!” Zarko shouted at him.

“Fight back!”

Inaja absorbed the hits his innocent face getting more and more impatient and less confused. Hit after hit; Zarko punching Inaja, then slipping past and sucker punching Krieger, then back to Inaja. Finally, he cracked.

“Argh!” Inaja hit his breaking point and swung out powerfully landing a hit straight in Zarko’s gut. For a moment he seemed alarmed and surprised with himself.

Zarko reeled back for a moment. Before unleashing a fury of blows at Inaja laughing manically the whole time. It seems as though Inaja just unknowingly just got initiated into the Fight Club.

Grinning, I leaned over to Nyx and whispered, “Krieger.”

“Inaja.”

We shook hands.

Inaja ended up winning. Im pretty sure even though Zarko lost the fight he was still happy to have won Inaja into their club; even if Inaja didn’t know that.

The next day we received a box from port. Farouk sent us a package with a small contact lens inside a bottle. Before anyone could react, Zarko poked it into his eye and we waited for something to happen. Nothing did. We threw a small party together and set out for port hoping that a path or signal would lead us… somewhere. We went to the market and wandered around; holosigns shown above the crowds, advertising items or giving directions to people. I curiously looked around nothing popping out to me. At one point, Zarko started staring at a sign and blinked rapidly at it, apparently having trouble seeing correctly.

“Close one eye..” I whispered into my microbead.

He was about to see a hidden arrow in the maze of shops and alley ways. We followed them to a lone door down am alleyway that we almost walked right past. Entering we found ourselves in a bar.

“Farouk sent us.” Sigmund told the bartender.

He lazily wiped off a glass that looked like no one had drank out of, like ever. “Did you really think that would work?” He asked almost amused.

It took some convincing but finally he decided that we were who were said we were. A mysterious door opened from the back wall. A seamless door, that couldn’t have existed opened up into a small room and we quietly filed in. The door shut behind us and I felt extremely uneasy. Was this a trap?

Three additional doors opened and at the center stood a woman in fancy clothing. To her left stood a man in a thick trench coat and to the right a man in a familiar but nondescript uniform. I struggled to place where I had seen it before. The woman stepped forward.

“Welcome to the Kasballica Mission… In order to join us you must unseat Zulfikar Raheem.”

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I didn't almost die this time!
Or how I learned to love Barrage

The man we fought was massive… For some reason he thought he was still too squishy though, so right before the first shots were fired, he threw up a shield. We were having a lot of problems with him. I figured if we didn’t try everything we were dead, so I stabbed myself with one of the syringes I found on our way.

Not my brightest moment. But it was pretty awesome all the same.

Luck was on my side though, and it gave me an extraordinary amount of extra strength, which I used to EASILY grapple the beefy dude, and throw his staff away, suspecting it was the source of the shield. It wasn’t. Seriously though, that stuff was great, I probably could’ve held him still with just one of my hands, maybe even just a foot!

Inaja took out the shield, and the man and his backup were dispatched easily.

SIDE NOTE: I need to keep a close eye on Emir, he’s been getting very reckless lately. While I had Scruff McBuff grappled, Emir took a few shots at him, though he had no clear line of sight to the man without going through me. Thankfully he missed us both, but had he hit, it almost certainly would’ve only hit me. In addition to wounding me, it probably would’ve broken the grapple and potentially lost us the lead we had gotten on them. From a strictly pessimistic point of view, his recklessness could have very well killed us all had he succeeded. Also, after the fight, we had a straggler that we were questioning. We had already gotten the information we needed out of him, yet Emir saw fit to fire a few shots from his gun so that he could burn the man with his barrel. For absolutely no rational reason at all. Emir is a good fighter, and has been a huge help to me, but if he keeps this up I’ll have to assume that he’s being corrupted by the forces of chaos, and I will deal with it promptly.

There was some down time after we returned, so Krieger and I started roughhousing in the commons. Inaja was present and tried to stop us from hitting each other, which just made him the new target of our blows. He kept asking us why we were hitting him since he hadn’t done anything, and asking us to stop. Right as I was starting to feel bad about hitting him so much, he had had enough, and started fighting back. He beat Krieger and myself easily. Pretty soon into fighting back I think he realized it was all in good fun, and I think he even enjoyed himself. A huge crowd had gathered thankfully. If I’m to be honest, that was really the whole point. If he’s going to be on ship from now on, better the crew see him as one of us, rather than some random xenos to be feared or hated.

Sig returned a with a new mission, something to get us in contact with some people from the Kasballica mission. There was a contact lens that I put on, and it let me start seeing secret messages talking about a place named “Bask’s Calling”. We followed the signs until we were at the bar. The inside was disappointing, no patrons, a single barkeep, very little alcohol. After a while of talking to him though, we discovered that we were in fact talking to the doorman to the place we were searching for. He let us through to a back room, 3 people were there, and they told us they’d let us in the mission if we could unseat Zulfikar from his station…

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Love, in fire and in blood

Red is the color of blood. It’s warm, like life and passion. But it can also be blazing hot, furious and violent, like fire.

This place smells of chemicals and rot, and everywhere is the grinding and whirring of machinery. Most of the people here are insane, driven mad not by the touch of the warp, but by their own cravings. What a sad existence, to be only at ease when floating outside themselves. I pray I never fall that far.

Kayp never strays far from my side as we duck around massive columns, slowly advancing toward the center of the disused cathedral. Unconsciousness has not been kind to either of us lately. Too often do I wake with her pressed against my chest, hanging on as if something were dragging me from her. Too often do I wake unable to breathe after losing her in a dream that felt more real than reality.

There’s a loud popping sound followed by a long hiss. And my next breath is fire.

Now I dream of my own death. My blood has turned molten and I can’t scream, I can’t breathe, can only exhale until my skin has peeled back and flaked off like ash and the fire-blood pours from my eyes like tears. And all I can think is please save her, take me instead.


I awaken to the smell of cigar smoke. Inaja looms over me, an intimidating, but somehow comforting presence.

“You are being not dead.”

I inhale to answer and my lungs flare in agony. Inaja patiently waits for my coughing fit to pass and I manage to choke out a weak “Mostly not dead.” I give him a small smile that I hope is reassuring and pull myself up to a sitting position against the column, coughing.

“Are you ok?” Kayp croaks from a few feet away. Krieger is kneeling next to her.

I nod, and address Krieger. “Thank you.”

“Do not thank me,” she says in her usual deadpan, “Emir was the one who brought you back from the edge.”

I can sense Emir somewhere nearby. Agitated, predictably. He always gets upset after battles, over some perceived shortcoming, something he could’ve done better, more efficiently. I think he fears failure as much as I do.

“Thank you, Emir,” I say to his microbead.

All I receive in response is a noncomittal grunt, but the darkness surrounding him lightens a little with relief.

Kayp manages to drag herself over to me and lays down with her head in my lap. “I think I’m just gonna lay here for awhile, kay?” I can hear her smiling.

I nod again and comb my fingers through her hair. People are speaking on the microbead—I can hear Sigmund’s strained baritone and Emir’s short, gruff replies—but everything else can wait for now. Kayp is alive and breathing. Wheezing, perhaps, but breathing nonetheless.

Krieger told me once that Kayp’s hair is red. And I wonder, as it slides between my fingers, is it the color of blood, or of fire?

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Sigmund

Krieger says he isn’t a pirate. I must trust that she knows what she speaks.

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Nobody expects the inquisition!
Amongst our weaponry are such elements as fear, surprise... I'll come in again.

Inaja led us to the warehouse where Farouk’s stuff was being held. It was a little overwhelming just how much stuff was in there. We could fit it all on the Titansbane, but we wouldn’t have the time, knowing that the inquisition were on their way. I stood guard outside as the others went in, sure enough, the inquisition was already here! I did not…. See that coming.
I ran in at the sound of shouting, and joined the battle. We fought a few waves of them before there was only one left, and he was hauling ass. And if I’M saying he was hauling ass, you know he’s fast…

We chased him down and discovered an underground facility, the only inhabitants seemed to be half-dead servitors and nutjobs. Carefully making our way through, we found a few nifty items, and a lot of people trying to kill us… We dispatched them fairly simply, and with the second servitor going down in one hit, we thought it best to take out the first one we had seen. We went back and I fired the las cannon, and the I woke up. I’m not sure why I passed out, but I must have blacked out and killed him in my rage. I wasn’t particularly angry or anything though… Very odd.

There was a fancy shielded door on the second floor. We found the unlock override on the third floor, and I hauled ass up through demons to look at our treasure! Fucking bullshit. Both weapons were dumb. I talked them up though and gave them to everybody else so at least somebody is excited about them…

We made it to the end of the road on the third floor down. There was a room that was total vacuum, and had a large chasm, looked like a dock or a trash vent. Krieger had a voidsuit and air pulled from earlier, so she donned it and went out. We were only able to operate half of the necessary controls, so we needed her to jump across for us. While she jumped across, I had this odd sense of deja vu, and immediately thought she wasn’t going to make it. But, she did, I’m just going crazy apparently. After the bay was closed and air reintroduced, we made our way through, just in time to hear some creepy old fuck bitching about how we found them. Of course we did!

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