The Exarch Infinitum. 794.M41
Was I ever destined for more? Was it always my fate to follow?
Today I will spit in the Lord-Captains face. I will besmirch his entire legacy. A man with his power doesn’t deserve it. Inheriting a legacy is not the same as having defined one. Growing up with a Writ of Trade as your inheritance certainly skews your vision of your life. Insurmountable wealth, vast influence, power and security the rival that of massive armies. Adruesus Kahlmor wants for nothing.
Life is different for those born in the void. You learn to embrace fear and uncertainty. The cold is your ever present companion. You are told what you are. Life and destiny are legends you hear about during your travels. Lucky individuals never need to know fear because we exist. The voids-man, the crew, the dregs. For all of our want we receive little. You can work on a ship for your entire life and never meet your Lord-Captain.
I lost my first captain. My home was destroyed in a xenos attack. I lost my father.
Life is different for those born in the void. You learn to embrace fear and uncertainty.
Working for Lord-Captain Adruesus Kahlmor has not been the promotion I needed. A man devoid of want so he grows up not seeing it in others. He subjugates entire races of people without a thought. He has sacrificed crewmen, my brethren, in the name of profit and plunder. Even his closest crew members merely exist to serve. I am merely a slave. Expendable.
I cannot abide this anymore. A man without wants should not have the right to choose for others. He trusts me. When I do cross him I’ll never find work within the Imperium of Man again, but I’ll make due. It is time to teach this man, this Rogue Trader, what it is to want. It is time to teach him to embrace fear and uncertainty.
His precious ship the Exarch Infinitum is where we set our stage. I have been planning this for weeks. I’m going to wrench my freedom from his weak, groping hands.
The crew doesn’t trust me enough to stage a mutiny, so I’ll have to hold them at gunpoint. I have set charges in numerous hidden compartments all over the enginarium. A voids-man might not fear death, but being sucked into the Immaterium is pointedly not death.
With the crew under my thumb I will control the Teleportarium. That wretched device has been used to slaughter countless people and destroy entire stations. I can’t destroy it yet, but I can definitely sell it to the Adeptus Mechanicus.
Dealing with Commander Lysander will be a problem. He is quite loyal to the Lord-Captain. I harbor no ill will against him, but he cannot be allowed to stand in my way.
He is on the far side of Port Footfall. He’s negotiating a re-supply of the ship. Easily several hours away by port transit. My next move will need to be through our vox caster; this way he can hear me tear his legacy to shreds.
Walking to the Teleportarium, I take a deep breath and march in. The acolyte recognizes me, maybe with a hint of confusion. I draw my pistol and savagely swing it hard into his jaw. He collapses in a heap but he’s still conscious.
“Acolyte, teleport Commander Lysander to the far side of Port Footfall or I put one through your good eye.” I feel bad for him. But its necessary.
He works the console while blood dribbles down his chin. His jaw is already beginning to swell. He will need some extended medicae care or he’ll be eating through a straw for months. There is an electric sound and I see Commander Lysander appear in a flash of lightning. He swings around abruptly and looks me in the eye. Resignation spreads across what remains of his face. I believe he knew this day was coming.
With one more electric flash he’s gone. I throw the acolyte out and lock the door. I use my hellpistol to weld the metal shut.
I march out and announce through the vox caster, “To the crew of the Exarch Infinitum, this is Voidmaster Juxx. I have seized control of the ship. Prepare the ship for immediate launch. If we aren’t up and moving in 30 minutes I will blow the enginarium.
In my pocket I find the detonator and it the button two times. I have two muffled explosions on the port and starboard cargo holds. Nothing of value and no one should be there, but it gets the threat across.
I head to the command deck. Everyone I come across is looking at me in either wonder or disgust. My face is a mask, I hold it in as grim a look as I can manage. Fear threatens to crack it but there is no turning back now.
The ship rumbles to life and the engines begin to roar. We begin to pull away, locking our guidance on another trader ship that is about to enter the warp. We will use their ship as beacon to traverse the Warp without our resident Navigator. I man the helm and I hear through my micro-bead, “Juxx. Unhand my ship.”
Impossible. He can’t be this close. I look through a portside window and see him standing on the dock. How did he get here this fast? It should’ve been impossible. Its almost like the intervening hand of a God has turned the tide of this game.
His xenopelt cloak wavers in the currents cast off from the ship. An imposing figure, even if he is one man.
I have contingencies. I expected him to follow but this moves everything up.
I order the ship full ahead and we pull away. Space dust and debris clouds the dock. As if from no where a one man flyer erupts from the dust. We weren’t bringing any aboard so I’m not sure why there was one on the dock, or even where it came from. How convenient for him.
He approaches the stern of the ship near the cargo bay. I make my way down the cargo bay and wonder where everything went so wrong. I had planned for weeks, I had succeeded against every obstacle. Standing in the cargo bay I wait for the telltale sounds that let me know he’s attempting to attach his flyer to the door.
When I hear it I click the detonator four more times. My helmet visor helps against the blinding white light as four more demo charges blow the door out where his flyer was attached. As the door blows off I see the cockpit of the flyer open and Adruesus Kahlmor himself leaping from the wrecked ship. In a jump that I can only assume was aided by the benevolent hand of a god he flies through the explosion to land on the floor of the cargo bay. Standing there without his void suit on.
It is at this time that I know I cannot win. He is an unstoppable juggernaut in close combat. And somehow he has with him all four of his swords even though he was on a routine trip to a local merchant. It seems something far darker is plotting against me.
At this distance I open fire with everything I have. He effortlessly floats around all of my shots and closes the distance. He strikes me with hilt of his ghost sword. Anticlimactically he puts a boot to my chest and orders me to disarm.
I wake up in a pod. I am bound and disarmed. How long have I been out?
I see Commander Lysander through the window on the door. Staring at me. I can’t register what he’s thinking through his bionic eyes. I do my best to stare back. To keep my resolve.
“Why did you do it?” I hear the Lord-Captain ask me through a nearby vox caster.
I make my way over and speak into it, “I have never known what it is to be free. Free of what amounts to slavery, free of your wretched demands, free of want. I am a voids-man, and you see us as less.”
There is silence.
I continue, “I cannot follow you. I cannot abide. If I am to continue my journey through the void, it will be as a free man. I am done being your follower.”
Still silence. Then he chimes in slowly, “We are in orbit above a death world. You are to be exiled here for your transgressions. You were an excellent void master. I wish I had been a better judge of character.
“We have dropped another pod with your equipment and some supplies. We are going to drop you ten kilometers from it. There are dangerous creatures lurking in the jungles. Poisonous lakes and carnivorous plants.
“I will give you what you ask for. Here is your freedom. If I ever meet you again I will kill you where you stand.”
I feel my pod disconnect.
Life is different for those born in the void. You learn to embrace fear and uncertainty. I get one more look at the Exarch Infinitum as I plunged towards the surface.