For the void is lovely, dark and deep

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For the void is lovely, dark and deep

Postby SteveC » Sat Jul 09, 2016 8:20 pm

The dataslate clattered onto the adamantium inlaid desktop in Hastreme's private office aboard the Songs of Terra. It joined several dozen others that had been discarded there over the last few hours. Each one containing the sort of information a successful Rogue Trader's Dynasty needed to thrive. Reports from all of the Dynasty's holdings on both sides of the line, lines of intricate accounts from the various mining operations around Reinhold, reports from agents and representatives on a dozen worlds all reporting on the latest deliveries from the Chartist vessels that ploughed their wares across the Ruhrort Sector. Normally he would relish this time, normally it would all be filtered through his years of mental training and exercises to compute what was vital to know and what could just be filed. Normally his self trained filtering would pluck out key words or phrases that might prove to be the clue to the next opportunity to exploit. Whilst the cogitators could handle the raw data of trade fluctuations and calculate the best market rates to predict price changes across the whole Sector Hastreme still preferred to read the reports himself. He relied on his years of instinct however to look for the hidden meanings behind the data, did a delay to a Chartist vessel arrival mean that a certain route was now vulnerable to change, did rumours of troop movements through the Heran Expanse indicate that security was compromised, did the change of date for a Regicide tournament on Arkangel hint at the infighting between two of the small Dynasties after decades of apparent co-operation? These were the sort of things no cogitator could read between the lines of data. But tonight Hastreme could not concentrate on his favourite part of data analysis.

The final dataslate had contained the contracted six monthly update on the development of his daughter and heir. The marriage contract may have stipulated that Hastreme leave all matters of raising their daughter to his wife but they also stipulated that he be sent regular reports, especially if she started to show any indication to having her father's talents. True they would not meet again until she reached her majority but he was still allowed some input into what training and education she received. However it seemed as if her mother had everything in hand, not that Hastreme would have ever doubted that. After all they both shared the same goal for their daughter and the future of their combined House even though it would take decades to achieve. No that was not why he was distracted tonight.

Tonight he was distracted by thoughts of the future, for decades he had known what his future would be. Repairing the damage done to his family through the actions of his traitor brother, securing its future financially, politically and through providing an heir so that it could be brought down again. The long term legacy had been the driving force behind everything he had done to this point and here he was with that goal practically achieved. Along the way he'd murdered the traitor with his own hands and ended that threat to his family. He had allied himself with other Dynasties and individuals to help fight against those forces that would seek the destruction of the Sector and the Imperium. Yes he might not be the most martial of individuals but he had supported those that were in the ways he could, providing them with equipment, influence and backing and looking to ensure wider successes where he could. All in the name of duty and honouring his family's history and the history of the Warrant. And now here he stood alone, his closest allies departed his service and with a wife and child that he had not link with beyond a political alliance and some donated genetic material run through machines to produce a child. So much effort expended to end up a lonely man not even liked by many of those he supported and certainly not loved by his own wife and child. Find yourself a family, Hypatia's note had said the irony being that the family he did have held no time for him had not been lost when he had read that.

He moved away from his desk and walked over the the table where he kept his star charts. There in finely worked detail lay representations of all the known worlds of the Sector and beyond the line. Warp routes inlaid using silver threads laced through the parchments showed the known paths between those worlds and skirted the edges of the swirling colours that represented the boundaries of warp storms. Carefully carved and engraved markers had been placed across the charts to represent planets and other points of interest discovered but so far not added to the parchment. Worlds like Telemanch, Xanadu and Lhosir each with their own wooden and metal miniatures. Hastreme added a new piece to the vista, the strange, decorated bishop piece from the Regicide set found on Lhosir. A portion of his psychic concentration still wrapped around it, hopefully confusing any signals it might be part of. He did not like being a piece in someone else's game, his moves being observed and marked by an unknown opponent. That was something he would have to find a longer term solution to.

Hastreme did not know what he would do next and he did like to think that anything else did either. Perhaps it was as Iskra had said to him and this was truly the opportunity for him to decide on what path he wanted to follow from here. A chance to break old habits and start new ones. To stop being consumed by the legacy of his Dynasty and find something that mattered to him personally. Somewhere out there in the void Hera and the Iron Star waited. Out there lay many more undiscovered secrets, unseen vistas and mysteries that he might be the first to see. Out there he could be an explorer again. If he had to be alone then he may as well allow himself to follow his own desires for once.

His thoughts were disturbed by the echo of the screams in the back of his mind. The pained and inhuman screeches that carried across the telepathic connection between himself and the Gyrinx still suffering in the depths of the ship. First there was that to deal with, only then could he find a new path and perhaps new friends. As he donned his coat and make ready to head to the bridge the words of an old poem came unbidden to mind...

"For the void is lonely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep."
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SteveC
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