+++FILE DESIGNATION: Lord-Captain’s Personal Logfile+++
+++LOCATION: Port Wander Naval Dockyards+++
In accordance with the advice of my good friend and colleague Lord-Marshal Anders Delacroix of the Holy Terran Planetary Defense Force, I will be recording as full and complete log of my travels and exploits as I can muster. Naturally, the recording of the logs shall be subject to the restraints of time and necessity. Furthermore, in the event of my death, I have arranged for copies of these logs to be delivered to my second, First Officer Victrix, and to the aforementioned Lord Marshal Delacroix in the hope that others may learn from the mistakes that led to my demise.
Today I took possession of the Collateral Damage, a Secutor-Class Monitor-Cruiser, from her former Lady-Captain. She seemed more than happy to be rid of it. Apparently, the machine spirit of this vessel is particularly strong-willed and adventurous. I predict it will suit my needs well. She also warned me that the ship bears several relics of the Dark Age of Technology and will be of great interest to the Tech-Priests of Mars. This, too, I believe I can turn to my favour. Most importantly, perhaps, the vessel is equipped for war, as I expect I shall encounter many enemies in the Expanse. It served as a ship of the line during the Angevin Crusade and as the centrepiece of a missionary-militant before that. The main hull of the ship is actually a multi-deck shrine to the God-Emperor, a full deck of which has been converted into medicae chambers and a triage station. Another section of the shrine can be detached and independently dropped onto a planet below. The mechanism is similar to the Lathe-Pattern drop pods mounted in the ventral section amidships. The main guns are a pristine set Titanforge lance weapons manufactured in M39 and the ship’s shields are an ancient and powerful Castellan array. Both should serve me well. In all, I could not have asked for a better vessel.
The command crew, for the most part, also seems well suited for the task ahead. Victrix was successful in locating the elements the Administratum deigned to “allow” me to choose myself, so we collected them on the way to the Maw from Holy Terra. First, an Explorator named Troix. He’s quite mad, but a brilliant scholar and technician. I suspect his experience extends into realms not meant to be explored by sane minds. Where we are going, I suspect this may prove useful, as well. He will serve as my Engineseer Prime. Next, Lilyth Renatus, the Death Corps officer turned ecclesiarch. When we first met, I feared for soul as much as her mind. Now, all such fears are washed away in tides of faith and blood. She will serve as my Chief Chirurgeon. The last, I am less certain of. Lord-Governor Nicostratus, in payment of my debt to him, has insisted that I take his son, Herodion, with me and employ him as my Senechal-in-Training. Against my better judgement, I agreed. The boy is unseasoned and was expecting a cushy post. I have attempted to disuade him of this, but I imagine experience will be a far better teacher than I. Only time will tell if he is capable of surviving in the Expanse. As long as he does, he will serve as my High Factotum.
After several meetings with the command crew, I have decided that, once we are through the Maw, our destination will be the Foundling Worlds. We will make our way towards Rain, surveying worlds along the way for potential colony sites. It is unfortunate, but the Warrant passed on to me contained little in the way of resources, so the fair share of this first expedition must be given over to procuring new sources of wealth and capital, so as to fund further endeavours. In addition, I expect at least some resistance from whatever xenos species lurk in that particular part of space. I must admit that I am intrigued by the xenos known as the Stryxis. From what I can ascertain, they do not pose an active threat to the Imperium and contact with them could prove profitable. However, I must approach any dealings with them cautiously and with my gunnery officer at the ready.
The reports from Rain paint a picture of terror, death, and damnation. However, the reports also suggest that there may be great wealth to be had there. Before contact was lost, the colonists reported extensive alien structures on the surface. I believe I can succeed where they failed. Now, do not mistake my confidence for hubris. I did not achieve victory on Dust through bluster alone. No, caution will be my guide; faith and violence my constant companions. The xenos that the colonists reported seeing before contact was broken – whatever they may be – are not gods. They are not ghosts. I know this, for there is only one God and His holy light guides me. The beasts shall learn this firsthand.
Lord-Captain of the Collateral Damage