I know you’ll never read this. Or at least not unless something has gone horribly wrong. But it helps, perhaps, to have some concrete mental model to speak to when one puts quill to parchment.
I’ll keep it short. The cryptographic cogitator I’ve programmed to help me with this cipher is an unwieldy thing, and verbosity is tedious.
To make a long story bearable… I’m safe, alive and well. And in charge of a rogue trader expedition. Yeah, Lord Captain Harlan Autumnhall, if you please. Yes, I know, you’re confused now. I’ll explain if we ever see each other again. Although you’ll have to understand that I hope that never, never happens.
I won’t commit what happened on the St. Cordelia to paper. Not even under what my pet Astropath assures me is unbeakable encryption.
No ship yet, but my expedition is being assembled, courtesy of a Scintillan Inquistor named Volgin. Apparently the man needs a very specific rogue trader ally (catspaw?) and it going to considerable expense to create my empire as what he needs.
This involved first hitching a ride in (in fact, commandeering) a BattleFleet Calixis frigate to a prison planet, to hire indentured crew and investigate a missing inquisitor. Yeah, the old “go find out what happened to the last guy I sent there” thing…
Anyway, the prison was actually an arcaeotech shipwreck. And infested with genestealers. Yep, genestealers.
I killed one of them in a sword fight. And you thought my little hobby was useless.
But I got the Inquisitor back, my crew for free, and am now the proud owner of a whole bunch of salvage archaeotech voidship components. Now all I need is a hull to put them in. Also found a hot trail to what looks to be another archaeotech site, once I have ship to follow it with.
To that end, I’m going undercover, after a cold trader and heretic named Phineas Ardentus. I’ll write more about it once I am through.
I’ve put together my command crew. Real flying rogues’ gallery, which is only appropriate, I suppose, given who and what I am.
- An Astropath who’s twelve years old. Mental prodigy. Last year’s winner of the Rose Primarius. Alternates between scared girl and genius, with a little bit of brat thrown in.
- Complete sperg TechMagos. No social skills or political nose at all. But he can fix anything, jury-rig things you wouldn’t believe possible, and he’s good in a fight if you keep him pointed in the right direction and don’t much care about collateral damage.
- A Sister of Battle as bodyguard! Apparently a cogitator glitch got her assigned to regiment that doesn’t exist. So I scooped her up. There’s a curiously absent quality to her, but she’s a decent sword fighter, and the power armor and Sororitas heraldry are just thing for making an impression.
- A factotum who’s got more checker than past. I know his real name, but he’d want me to call him “Spectre” anyway, so I will. He’s wickedly clever, and loves a good scheme as much as I do.
- A pilot with… issues, and sex on the brain. I try to hire her after some impressive steersmanship, and the first thought out of her mouth is “no nookie”. You know what that means.
- A navigator who’s a virtual prisoner of her house, and sees me as a way out. Tricky, but if that means no Navigator House percentage on my gross take, well, I’m up for that.
- A priest to motivate the men. Yeah, a priest. Me. Hanging out with a priest. Surprising, perhaps, but he’s got a lot more “The Emperor will protect you” and a lot less “burn the heretic” to him. Very likeable fellow, actually. The men really respond to him. I’ve gifted him with a sword from my collection, a powerfield blade I picked up on Scintilla after the St. Cordelia debacle.
That’s all for now. Hope you’re doing all right, though I’ll most likely never know.
Oh, one more thing. If this ever reaches your hand, I’ll most likely be dead or in dire trouble. But just so you know it’s really me:
Remember that night on Campbell’s World, at the Solstice Ball at Viscount Martisse’s winter palace? When I went off with Blake’s little squeeze and… well, later sent her back wearing Sunshine’s collar? And she was all proud of it because she thought it was an expensive choker necklace from Cabrini’s on Aquitaine?
And then Blake, well, you know, and you were sooooo mad at me for winding him up that you threw Mr. Secretary Bear at me, and tore his arm? And you sewed him up again because you wanted to do it yourself?
It was his left arm.
Yes, it’s really me.
All my love