Into that Vast Expanse
Collateral Damage ship history
Birth of a starship
The ship Collateral Damage was constructed in the early 39th Millennium in the spacedocks of Corvex, a Forge World in the Segmentum Solar. Originally designed to be the flagship for a personal Inquisitorial escort fleet, the ship was christened Sword of Primacy and studded with cathedrals and shrines across its main crew deck. The fore of the ship was built to complement the ancient Bridge of Antiquity installed there, drawing attention to the nexus of power and glory at the captain’s command throne.
Although the Sword of Primacy was intended for use strictly within the inner galaxy, the ancient machine spirit housed within the Bridge clearly hungered for more exploration than was offered by ferrying an Inquisitor from world to world. It began to grow restless and unpredictable, determined to make life unbearable for any crew who would keep it restricted to civilization. The final straw for the Inquisition came when the machine spirit intentionally interfered with navigation during a Warp jump, placing the ship several hundred lightyears off-course in a frontier sector.
Reaching for the stars
Recognizing that the ship could never fulfill its designed purpose, the Inquisition rechristened it Collateral Damage and brought it to fight in the Angevin Crusade to pacify the Calyx Expanse. The ship was extremely satisfied with this change in its mission, and gleefully sang across the stars as it encountered strange new worlds and obliterated their inhabitants. The massive cathedral atop the ship was converted to a self-sustaining unit that could be detached and launched at a pacified planet to spread the light of the Emperor.
Following the Crusade, the Inquisition allowed the ship to be purchased by Jillian Rosamunde di Graz, a privateer Rogue Trader who had demonstrated supreme piety and resourcefulness in the campaign. She made the Collateral Damage her new flagship and traveled with it throughout the sector. As a combatant in the final days of the Crusade, she was able to establish herself as one of the premier Rogue Traders in the newly founded Calixis Sector and her dynasty flourished.
Two millennia later, the ship was still in the hands of her direct descendants though the family name was now Montresor. Julian Montresor and his wife Adriana co-captained the ship, and in their pride they nearly beggared their fortunes to acquire and install an archaic Castellan Shield Array around the ship. With what little capital they had left, they brokered a deal with the Raethos trade empire to explore the frontier that lay beyond the newly opened Temple Gate.
Their plans to recover their fortunes may have even been successful if the Temple Gate had not been unexpectedly siezed by the Adeptus Astartes. With the new frontier closed, all Montresor contracts were suddenly worthless and Julian and Adriana found themselves destitute. Reluctantly they sold their flagship to the Imperial Guard and used the proceeds to pay off their debts and begin rebuilding their dynasty with a small transport ship.
A military refit
As an Imperial Guard vessel, the Collateral Damage was extensively retooled and outfitted with state-of-the art weaponry. Many of its shrines were stripped to make room for munition bays, and the contemplative garden mezzanine was defoliated and replaced with a barracks. The Chapel of Penitence in the bowels of the ship was largely untouched, as its fortified dungeon walls and imposing religious statuary made it an excellent brig.
But these modifications did nothing to improve the machine spirit’s mood. Once again forced to endure the drudgery of routine transport missions, it slowly grew unsettled as it traveled back and forth between Guard worlds and Calixis campaigns. The roughnecked Imperial Guard captains had trouble interpreting the nuances of the spirit’s whims at first, but after two centuries even they could detect its dissatisfaction.
Gifting a new dynasty
In addition to trouble with the machine spirit, the Imperial Guard also became disturbed by the frequency with which the Adeptus Mechanicus petitioned to inspect the ship. With its two archeotech components, they claimed, the Collateral Damage was a holy relic and an object of veneration. Although they could not have it removed from the Guard’s service, Mechanicus representatives made sure to detain and inspect the ship for at least a full month every drydock port.
When an Administratum order was issued to reward Kavik Draque, the war hero of Dust, with a ship, the Guard had no trouble identifying the Collateral Damage as the one to decommission. It was released into Draque’s personal command, the spirit eager for new adventures in the Koronus Expanse.