Author's Notes: Hello everyone, sorry that it has been so long since I last updated, writers block among other things. I hope that this makes up for it. As always GW and Fantasy Flight own the things I do not make up.
His orders were not questioned and soon Theobald was watching as Bounty of Industry was reduced to scrap. He had expected Valeris to make some protest at the destruction of the vessel, but it seemed that the tech-priest considered that the presence of the xenos creatures to be sufficient desecration to warrant putting the ship out of its misery. Theobald had the augers scrying the area around the ship for any sign that the creatures were attempting to get to the Adventurer, but there was no sigh of any. Nevertheless, he instructed the ship to prepare to leave the system as there were no planets in the system, nor anything else that could be of value. All in all it was the exact opposite of Adventurer's Luck and he knew that he was not the only one to be glad to be leaving the system. Silver, who made a habit of slipping down to the lower decks as it reminded her of home, reported that the crew thought of the system as unlucky at best and cursed at worst. The question was where they were going to go next.
In truth he did not have an answer. Beyond going back to Adventurer's Luck he had simply been going and hoping to find something. It had worked before, but it appeared that it was not always going to do so. For a moment he considered going back to the Imperium and converting the treasure that they had found into thrones, but he decided against it. If they went back now it would seem like a defeat, at least to him it would. No, they had plenty of supplies and he was not going back, not yet. Still, simply wondering around would not do, if they were to continue then something more concrete would be needed. They could not keep simply wondering off in one direction or another. They needed a plan and there was only one other person on the ship with whom he could talk to. So he left his quarters and made his ways to those of Navigator Neall. As usual the Navigator's guards barred his way, but fortunately he was clearly in a mood to speak with Theobald, as they quickly made way and allowed him access to their master's chambers. The Navigator as before was sitting at his desk working on his charts. Theobald stood before the desk and waited for Neall to acknowledge him. At last the Navigator finished and invited Theobald to have a seat while a servant poured them drinks. As they drank Theobald discussed his conclusions.
"Thus," he concluded; "I was hopeful that you, as a Navigator, might be able to advise me on the best rout to choose from here." Neall was silent for a time, swilling the remains of his drink in his cup. At last he spoke.
"I might be able to. It will be difficult out here, so far from the light of the Astronomican. Still, there are factors, such as the ratio of habitable systems to inhabitable systems. The results are not guaranteed, of course, but you are right. It will be better than simply wandering about. I shall let you know when I have something." From his tone Theobald was clearly being dismissed. Part of him rankled at such abrupt treatment, he was a Rogue Trader after all and the captain of the ship! Still, there were some things which even a captain could not do and one of those was to lay down the law with a Navigator for anything less than mutiny or heresy.
As it was clear that Neall did not intend to contact him until he had something and he clearly did not wish for Theobald to bother him Theobald decided to go for a walk. He was not sure where he was going, he did not have a particular destination in mind. He simply let his feet take him where they would. He walked down the corridors, receiving salutes from crew as they passed. Since they were on the upper decks none of these were the convicts which made up the crew of the lower decks and so he did not feel the need for Longwood or Rolf to protect him. He had been walking for some time when he heard the sounds of rapid movement and the sounds of someone grunting from exertion. His curiosity piqued he followed the sound to its source. It was a storage area, empty except for a single occupant.
Silver was standing in the middle of the room, blades in hand. She was going through a series of moves, mostly thrusts, blocks and slashes. During the fights that they had been in he had not had the opportunity to observe her skill with the sword. He had initially dismissed her boasts as just that, vain boasting. Seeing her now; however, he was not so sure. He was not expert himself, his own skill with the blade had all been self-taught and he knew that his fighting style was little more than wildly flailing about with his blade and hoping that he hit his opponent before he was hit first. Silver was different. She moved with speed, grace and confidence. He watched her for a moment before she at last noticed him. She looked at him and grinned.
"See something you like Boss-man?" He smiled in return.
"I was just watching you train; you do indeed seem to be talented."
"Told you, Vega said that I was a natural with the sword." She paused and gave Theobald a speculative look.
"Care for a bout?" For a moment he was silent, weighing his options. He knew that if they spared he would lose and likely badly. On the other hand, if he refused he would not only exhibit his lack of skill, but also appeared cowardly. Thus, he nodded his agreement and went to retrieve his sword.
They faced off, stared at one another for a moment and then lunged at each other. It did not go well for Theobald. He attempted to use his superior height and strength to end the fight quickly by bringing his blade down in a powerful downward chop. Silver stepped to the side while simultaneously using her dagger to knock his blade aside. As his blade was moved aside she stepped in and thrust with her sword, striking his stomach. Not hard, it did not even tear the fabric of his shirt, but they both knew that if they had been in a real fight she could have run him through before he was able to do anything about it.
"Armature mistake Boss-man. You never trust only in your strength. Goliaths fight like that and the dumb brutes end up dead. Try again." He nodded and they began again.
He acted like he was going for another overhead blow, but changed to instead swing at her legs. Before it could connect she nocked his blade away with hers. She then launched a spinning kick which caught him in the stomach, nocking the wind out of him.
"Nice try Boss-man, but you might as well have had a flashing sign saying what your attack was going to be. If you don't want to be killed, I'd work on that." Theobald could only nod in agreement. Gathering his battered dignity he gave a half-mocking bow and left the room. As he continued his walk he reflected that he needed to learn how to use the blade better. It was not just the humiliation of losing either; Silver was right, if he ever met someone skilled in fighting. He considered going back and asking Silver for lessons. She appeared to be as good as she claimed to be and Theobald could use skills like that he could use. He was still considering this when the alarm went off and the bridge officer's voice blasted from the vox.
"GENERAL QUARTERS! GENERAL QUARTERS! ALL HANDS TO BATTLE STATIONS!" Theobald headed towards the bridge at a run.
Running down corridors and taking lifts it seemed as if he would never reach it, though he was going as fast as he could. At last he made and moved to the auger array, barely acknowledging the officer of the watch who had saluted him upon his entrance. Though he did not truly understand how the device worked He could see that the readings were upsetting the man manning the station.
"What do we have?" He demanded of the man.
"I am detecting three ships, My Lord. I believe them to be xenos in origin."
+Confirmed+ A nearby servitor interjected.
+Vessels are recognized as belonging to the xenos Orks. Ships are tentatively identified as being Ravager attack ships+ Theobald cursed.
"Have they spotted us?!" The auger operator nodded.
"I believe so. They are turning in our direction and appear to be accelerating."
"Can we make a jump?"
+Negative. We are currently too far from the Mandeville Point to execute a jump+ That made Theobald pause.
At Necromunda they had made a jump before reaching the Mandeville Point, but that had not been without cost. There had been deaths and the ship had taken damage and it had almost been much worse. He shuddered at the memory of the creatures beyond the Gellar Field and how they had been on the verge of getting through. The Emperor's grace and good fortune had saved them before, things which could not be counted on a second time.
No, better to take their chances with a battle with the Orks. He had fought them before and survived. A savage smile, half fear and half anticipation split his face.
"Come, gentlemen, let us see if the Emperor smiles upon us as we do his work.
"POWER TO THE SHIELDS AND WEAPONS! WE CLAIM THESE STARS FOR THE EMPEROR! LET US PURGE THESE XENOS INVADERS WHO WOULD DEFILE THEM! FOR THE EMPEROR!" All who were capable of doing so cheered.
Author's Notes: Sorry that it has been so long, will try to get the next one sooner. What did you think let me know think.