A few weeks after Herodion is released from the brig, the captain of the Collateral Damage pays the young seneschal a visit in his quarters. Not one to mince words, Draque gets straight to the point.
“I can see you are in no condition for more military assignments. It was a lapse in judgement to press such matters on you so soon after your oath. Furthermore, I leave it in your hands to determine if you need a leave of absence to process the facts of your new situation. Medoc will be more than willing to take over while you… recuperate.”
Hero makes no effort to hide a scowl at the mention of the Master of Whispers. Noting this, Kavik pauses for a moment, then adds, “If you wish to continue with your duties, I will expect you to comport yourself as an officer and accompany me as my High Factotum. However, I will leave the choice to you as to whether or not to take on additional assignments. I recognize that it was a mistake to make an example of you before the bridge crew. I must also recognize that your are no common soldier. However, you are still a member of my crew and will be treated as such. I will continue to hold you to the same high standards. Am I understood?”
The young noble gingerly sits down at the table. He eyes the old veteran in front of him, taking in the brightly polished buttons of the military uniform, the scarred visage, and, most of all, the dark scowl looming above. Almost lazily, he replies. “Sir, you remind me of my father. Do you know what that means?”
“Your father is a military man trapped behind the desk of a bureaucrat. I imagine he had little time for you.”
There is venom in Hero’s retort. “Yes, he was a military man. And a piss poor excuse for a father. He, like you, took little time to notice that I’d no interest in the life and legacy that he had laid out for me.” Hero laughs bitterly, visibly wincing with the effort. “Unlike you, however, he never took the time to attempt to apologize for it.” An uncomfortable silence falls between the two men. “It’s not your standards I’ve a problem with, Sir,” he continues cautiously, “It’s how you continue to treat me as he did. As a child, and then as a subject. One who should follow him willingly and oblige unquestioningly.”
Taking Kavik’s continued silence as tacit permission to continue, Hero adds, “The sign of a good leader, my dear captain, is one for whom his men will think it was their own idea to follow.”
For perhaps the first time, Kavik considers the man in front of him. “Do you know what my first mistake was, Herodion?”
“Aside from allowing a fugitive on your ship without a background check?” Hero replies brusquely, bracing for another painful oration.
Hero is taken aback by the admission. His jaw hangs open, half-formed retort dying on his lips. Until now he would have sworn that Kavik Draque was not the sort of man who was even capable of an admission of guilt.
“It is not one I shall repeat,” the captain adds.
Hero’s carefully measured response belies his incredulity. “Thank you, Sir. I believe this conversation has been edifying. For the both of us, if I may say so.”
Kavik nods slightly in agreement. “I concur. The very reason you are here instead of rotting in an Inquisitiorial cell is to question my decisions and ensure a better outcome for my House and yourself.”
Almost instinctively, Hero interjects, “Then, with all due respect, Sir, perhaps you ought to allow me to do my job?”
The Rogue Trader looks his seneschal in the eye. Seeing a brief glimmer of fear, he nods. “Yes. I intend to do just that.”
Seizing the opportunity, Hero presses on. “I am a sight better at the ins and outs of bureaucracy than yourself, and I daresay a better read of the common man. Most of the world won’t abide by your military world of black and white. It’s much more… flexible.”
Before he can get too far, Kavik interrupts the young man, “First, I would have you fetch me a ransom for the hulk of the Summer’s Bounty. The Navy has deep pockets. Plumb their depths.”
Hero’s brow furrows and he blinks rapidly. A sort of half-manic grin of realization slowly spreads across his face. “How far and how daring would you like, Sir?”
“In this instance, Herodion…” A small smile crosses Kavik’s lips. “Indulge yourself. As you are so fond of reminded me, I am no longer a military man. I feel it may be time to exercise my new found authority more… extensively.”
“Excellent. Let the games begin, then.” Then, as an afterthought, “Oh, and Captain?”
“I might perform a bit better if my quarters had a door,” the nobleman observes, looking pointedly through the hole in the wall.
The door propped against the wall is dented and damaged. The hinges are broken in several places and in some places exterior layer of metal as begun to peel from the edges. Draque waves dismissively towards the door. “Why haven’t you dealt with that yet? Speak with Triox. It is no concern of mine. Though, I had been wondering why you tolerated quarters without a functional hatch…”
Hero heaves a dramatic sigh, motioning vaguely to the entrance to his quarters. “You know, after having Victrix break off the hinges enough times it’s a wonder I bothered having a door at all.”
“It does beg the question, " Draque concedes, stepping through the portal. “Regardless, Herodion, you are a Lord of this House and a member of this vessel’s command staff. Exercise some of that power,” he adds before disappearing into the hall.
Hero raises an eyebrow and smiles to himself, “As you wish, Sir.”