Into that Vast Expanse
On the gritty and rickety reaches of Hive Tarsus—the Hiveskin, pounded by lethal sandstorms and relentless heat—few eek out a living. Those that do become hardened by the sun, weathered by the sand, and cloaked in iridescent armor.
In order to find a new Master of Whispers, Gorst ascended into the weather-beaten heights to find someone fluent in Goldentongue, someone who knew the ins and outs of the Administratum, and had navigated the deep warehouses of the middle hive. Someone with quick fingers, a quicker mind, big ears, and enough knowledge to understand that Tarsus is granted its power on Scintilla almost completely due to the orbital docks which keep pace with the desert city—not through any innate power of its own.
Gorst found two men, or rather, a man—and a boy.
The man had a reputation for knowing things. His network of “friends” trickled down from the top of the hive to the coldest and most noble of houses below. He took rides up to the docks to talk savvy with the workers. Amongst the poor he was known as an know-what dealer, a slimy just-what-you’re-looking-for merchant. The nobles talk about a charming information broker who knows everything from where to get those new curtains for your lounge—to what seventh sibling of the high family of who-do is going to do next.
This man, this paragon of information networking, had never considered leaving his web until Gorst walked into his office and dropped a pile of Imperial Throwns heavy enough to collapse the desk. Charming and willing to bribe, steal, or threaten to get what he desires, Lesley Arildsen is a sparkling example of what it means to be a Master of Whispers.
Gorst tells Lesley only what he believes the man must know, and occasionally what he believes to be necessary, but not always correct. Lesley is an excellent man for the job, and Gorst trusts him to do an excellent job. The ship runs smoothly, in part, due to this man’s ability to charm, wheedle, and spy. Gorst trusts Lesley to let Gorst know when he receives an invitation to betray the Raethos—Gorst will make a counter offer. Gorst trusts Lesley to be a businessman. But Gorst does not trust Arildsen.
Even in the scummiest of places, the under-dwellings, prisons, and back-roads of the Emperium, there are children. Thousands of men strong, there are bound to be nameless young humans who are born, live, and die aboard the massive Rogue Trader vessels of the Emperor. Less so, however, than the crawling, pulsing Hives.
Pim, one such abandoned child from Tarthus, caught Gorst’s attention by choosing the unassuming Seneschal of the Raethos fleet as a victim. Sadly for the young boy, Gorst likes little in this world as much as he likes his pocket-change. However, instead of dispatching the boy—Gorst has an eye for interesting specimens—the old man began asking the kid questions. He realized something that he had suspected for a long time: children listen, but are thought of as deaf and dumb drones incapable of processing the information they take in. Pim digested everything, knew more than most adults, and had sticky fingers, but was motivated more by his own pride and stubbornness to survive than he was by the tell-tale clink of credits.
Gorst was so impressed by the lad that he did something he never though he would do in all his 138 years: he adopted. Pim lives deep in the bowels of The Bottom Line and when he finds information Gorst would enjoy—he shares it.