Big Game V – Chapter Two: Discovery
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The Imperial Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator ship Menelaus plodded through warp. The eddies of distorted space ebbing around the vessel always threatened to tear it apart with terrible force.
The Explorator was of an Arkhan Class long range vessel, outfitted at the finest shipyards that Mars itself could offer. Over 300 charted voyages beyond the realm of charted space had weathered the craft. The exterior was studded with massive void shield generators and each flank of the ship was studded with short range macrocannon batteries. The prow of the vessel was fitted with surveyor arrays more powerful than those mounted on mighty Retributor Class Battleships. Along the central spine, the craft was fitted with 3 long-range lance batteries, each a monument to the ingenuity of the human species. The ships stern was fitted with massive thruster arrays in clusters providing surprising speed and maneuverability to the sturdy old craft. The bridge was, unique to the Arkhan Class vessels, mounted in the central spine of the craft midway along deck fourteen. This placed the command deck within the central portion of the vessel, protecting it from external dangers but offering little in the way of a view.
It was upon the command deck of the vessel that Senior Navigator Krosp steadied himself. His seventeen hours of continuous work had left him drained. Yeoman Navigator Relins had suffered an unknown attack when last on shift, putting him down for several days to recuperate. This had left the duties of the navigation to Yeoman Tucker and Journeyman Navigator Exman. Neither of these two was capable of guiding the ship through the perilous range that was now upon them. Nearly a full Earth day ago, the ship had passed into the Chasma Spica, a deadly range of warp storm activity charted to the galactic west of the ore world V’Run. The Chasma was a thin strand of passable warp space that allowed craft to traverse south to the extreme edge of Segmentum Tempestus. The Chamsa Spica was well charted and the Menelaus had itself made the trip once before, albeit some two thousand years ago. Navigator Krosp had watched the charts well and was more than familiar with the path the ship needed to take. He was not prepared for the bizarre storm activity, however.
“Seinor Navigator, designation: Krosp,” The squawking mechanical voice of Master Magos Astril addressed.
The Magos would await Krosp’s reply so, moments later when he could spare concentration he relied, “Master Magos?”
“You have moved 27% more in the last minute that in all previous recorded times at the helm over the last 16.88 hours. Query: explain this deviation,” The Master Magos was an acute watchman and a more than capable ‘first mate’.
“I have felt a disturbance akin to a warp storm but it is not present in my immediate sight,” the Navigator replied. His exhaustion could be seen by any willing to observe with an ounce of humanity. Unfortunately, that quality was lacking in the command crew.
Master Magos Astril was silent for some time. Eventually he spoke, “Supreme Magos Menelaus requests more data as you acquire it.”
Senior Navigator Krosp was unsettled by the reference to the Magos linked directly into the ship. The Adeptus Mechanicus reverence for divesting the physical was unsettling to the psyker. Krosp realigned his attention and focused on the task of guiding the ship. Moments later he struck the ‘all stop’ rune on the small command lectern in front of him. Immediately the servitor helmsman whirred into action and the ship’s warp engine began to whine, slowing the ships movement.
“Senior Navigator, designation: Krosp,” Magos Astril began, “Your actions require explanation. Query: why have you signaled Menelaus to stop forward movement?”
Krosp paused as he wet his lips. He turned to face the Master Magos which itself was a hollow gesture due to his eyes being functionless. “The storm…” Krosp began, “there is no storm.”
“Query: explanation insufficient, elaborate”
“We are less than halfway across the Chasma Spica and there is simply no more warp storm. For millennia, this space has been inaccessible and now it is open. We have found the greatest discovery of an age!”