At the gala following his grand ceremony of ascension, Harlan discussed much business with other noble and Warranted houses, and learned that his erstwhile target, Phineas Ardentus, had been in involved in a “Cold Trade” network with Harlan’s own father, smuggling xenos artifacts into Imperial space from the Koronus expanse.
Gathering information by bluff and pretense, Harlan and his crew identified the major players in the conspiracy, and helped create both the appearance and the reality of enemies, both of the criminal and law enforcement varieties, closing in on House Ardentus.
Harlan then offered him sanctuary aboard his spacecraft as the expedition headed for the Koronus Expanse. Once on board, Lord Ardentus was not heard from again.
In the Expanse, the crew took on supplies at Footfall Station, and departed in the company of another Rogue Trader, Seldan Forsellis, to investigate a colony, Damaris, founded by the Forsellis Clan which had dropped out of contact in recent months.
Arriving there, they found the planet suffering periodic Astropathic blackouts, and threatened by a massive Ork presence in the outer asteroid belts. After running naval battles with the Ork fleet of converted asteroids, the Orks have made planetfall and laid siege to the colony itself.
While successful in inflicting many times their numbers in causalities upon the Orks, the Imperial defenders are vastly outnumbered and in danger of being worn away by attrition despite their superior tactics and firepower.