Sword & Spoken Word
"ISV St Cordelia"
One of the better appointed and more luxurious vessels of the Imperial Merchant Fleet, the ISV St. Cordelia belonged to the Chartist Fleet of House Zurlinden, and boasted a full Navigatory and Astropathic staff, thus allowing it to dispense with short, precalculated warp jumps, and deal in the fast transport of expensive luxury goods, and even passengers from among those segments of Imperial society so wealthy and influential as to spend their lives not bound to a single planet.
Until two weeks out of Omnicron DX-71, enroute to Port Maw on an itinerary bound for Holy Terra, the St. Cordelia was crippled and boarded, in the midst of Imperial space, by Eldar pirates.
It is not widely known why the xenos were there, why they chose to attack the St. Cordelia, or what, if anything, they took of its cargo. What is known is that the crew and passengers, some fifteen thousand souls, were slaughtered to a man.
A single man.
Harlan, Hæres Primaris (later Lord) of the Autumnhall Rogue Trader dynasty, was alone left alive aboard the drifting hulk of the St. Cordelia.
Six months later, when the naval fast picket ship HHN Intolerance located the St. Cordelia’s distress beacon, Lord Harlan was still alive, and was, to the great surprise of the naval officers aboard, quickly pronounced free of xenos taint by the ship board officer of the Naval Comissariat, after a single short deposition.
The St. Cordelia is currently in orbital drydock around Omnicron DX-71, incurring a steadily increasing small fortune in docking fees while repairs are stalled by injunction of the Arbites Judicaem, pending the outcome of an ownership dispute between House Zurlinden and the Imperial Navy… with the Navy contending that the St. Cordelia is legally salvage.
House Zurlinden’s case appears to be built upon the contention that Lord Harlan Autumnhall, as holder of a Warrant of Trade, was legally qualified to control a voidship, and, as a living Imperial citizen who continuously inhabited the St. Cordelia from the time of the attack, accessing and using a number of its systems… he did, in fact, control the St. Cordelia, which therefore never became derelict and subject to salvage law.
The case is expected to take years at the very least, possibly a decade.