The Varlian Gate


First Officer Orpheus’ log: Imperium stardate 2.5.12076

After an uneventful patrol comprising a two month tour of the outer system, our ship the ICS Jericho was set upon by a band of pirates. The force consisted of two light cruisers and a modified tug that acted as the command ship for the flotilla. The attack came unprovoked but with apparent reason as will be disclosed later. After a brief but bitter engagement we emerged victorious by destroying one cruiser and the tug while the second cruiser fled. We could not give chase due to the crippling damage to our engines. We suffered extensive damage to decks 3-5 and 8,9 and 14 with the loss of cabin pressure to the whole of deck 4. Total casulties equated 407 leaving crew compliment at 369. During the engagement the tug launched a manned probe into a breach on our hull which was only discovered after the engagement. The occupant was found soon after trying to upload a virus into the Imperium data banks, with presumably the aim of disrupting all communications, records and systems within the sector, which would allow a Varlian invasion to take us by surprise. The virus infected our systems but technician Daniels was able to contain it to only this vessel by cutting all communications and broadcasts. Though this leaves us adrift with no chance of rescue until the propulsion systems are repaired, which is estimated to take another week. Until then I have been tasked with discovering the truth behind our prisoner who we have put in containment cell 3 next to the overmedicated physician.

signed off

Abord the trade hauler Useful

Captain Gadler paced the blue illuminated bridge cursing at the time they had lost in the Trench. He needed to get rid of that fool at the helm. This was his third route that he would end up behind schedual and the losses in profit had cost him all but his most loyal and unskilled crew. He cursed again. No one looked around, so used to their captain’s almost terrets-like swearing. So bad were the times that he had been forced to take on passengers, which was always a risk; the last time he’d done that one of them had turned out to be a Trierarch and almost impounded his ship on smuggling charges… almost, until he had thrown the man out an airlock. That thought made him smile. But still, he resented the fact that his lack of funds had forced this on him. He tried to remember their names – Fergie Roger, an ex-arbitrator by the look of her and the smell of demo-gel following her whereever she went. A frightening woman by all accounts and almost as much metal as flesh. Then there was Ormac McKreedy, some merc from the border colonies, a typical thug with a Kracon Cannon. They brought some much needed TerDs, but his real money maker was the five tons of Lagos Petroleum he had hidden all through the ship. Some new drug from the outer colonies that was becoming all the rage Spinward. He just hoped he would reach his fence before the supply was too high to beg a profit.

Every so often they needed to bring the Useful out of Trench space to cool down the hull and the next stop was ten seconds away.

“Karl, report. Any signals? I need to know if we are running into an ambush.”

“Nothin’ readin’ Gad. I swear we are clean and clear.” Gadler mumbled under his breathe about respect for ones superiors but no one heard.

“Alright, bring this old biddie out of the fire.”

A low hum as the particle accelerators were brought on line and suddenly deceleration of exit into real space as the cold slammed against the blazing superstructure. As the radiation shielding receeded into the hull Gadler turned to peer out into the void and immediatley saw the silhouette of an Imperium patrol boat. The letters stencilled on the hull spelled Jericho.

“Frak! Karl, I thought you said we were clean!”

“We were! There was nothing on the scanner! What are we gonna do Gad?”

“Stand down and let me handle this. If we get out of this alive remind me to break your legs.”

“Sorry to interupt,” Hans cut in, “but we’re being hailed.” A grunt from Gadler.

“Put them through… and no one say anything, ya hear!”

The vid-screen fizzed and crackled and went dead with a sputter. “I thought you said you fixed that Hans.”

“Hadn’t got to it yet sir.”

“Fracking great. The next port-o-call I’m trading you in for a hamster.” A distorted voice spoke from the mic. “Ahem. You know we can all hear you, right?”

“Oh, sorry.”

“I am First Officer Orpheus of the ICS Jericho and in accordance with the Intergalactic Trade and Salvage Treaty of 8436 we invoke our right as the military arm of the Emperor to strip your vessel of unnessesary parts to help our repairs. Open your aft cargo bays and stand ready to accept our salvage teams. Jericho out.” The fizzle from the com ceased.

“Shit! Pass the word to hide everything of worth. Get hangars 6 through 9 open and have teams ready to hand out the Kracons. If this gets ugly I want to be ready. Prime the port turrents and be ready for my word.”


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