Charlie: back in June, we had the first episode of the Captain's Log, Jon's journal of his travels in the Scyrian Expanse. In this episode, the flotilla takes its first leap out into the Expanse... I'll hand you over to Jon without further ado.
|The sub-sector map at the time of writing.|
EXTRACTS FROM THE JOURNAL OF LAIUS ORTANO
Captain's log, star date 3.151.999.M41
Journal Entry: 787
After some minor shifts in gravity during our stay in the warp, Azaryah has translated us back into real space, on the outskirts of a binary star system. Our first step into the unknown expanse of the Scyrian sub-sector.
Curiously, against statistical odds, our long range scans indicate signs of life dotted across multiple moons and planets. There are also mining opportunities available. Most are not in hospitable environments. However, there is a small moon orbiting a gas giant that has a livable environment and is rich with minerals. Another moon close-by harbours life.
The gas giant, B5, is about a day’s flight away.
Captain's log, star date 3.154.999.M41
Journal Entry: 788
A mining outpost is currently being set up on B5i.
The life we have found on B5iii consists of extremophiles in a high pressure environment.
There is a moon orbiting a different gas giant, closer to the secondary star: B4iv. It shows signs of life and has a breathable atmosphere. Perhaps more complex life will exist there?
I must confess, I am rather taken with the pace of this mission. It makes a pleasant change from fighting Ork and Chaos fleets! To discover new life and help expand the Imperium, rather than destroy in defense of it, makes for a welcome change.
I have instructed Westcliffe to have Squadron 17 remain in orbit around the mining facility while the rest of the fleet continues to explore the system.
Captain's Log: Star Date: 3.188.999.M41
Journal Entry: 789
It feels good to write again. The Intemperance is currently undergoing extensive repairs in the docks orbiting Kaprun.
I am not sure where to begin.
The life signs we had detected at B4iv were not simple organisms. As we approached the moon we began to see green landmass and large oceans, and in the planet’s umbra was an unmistakable site. The cobweb structure of night-lights; cities.
We also detected radio transmissions and signs of conflict.
I sent a broadcast on all frequencies, announcing our presence in the system, and sure enough a few minutes later I was speaking with a lost human civilisation in civil war.
The notion of interstellar travel was lost on them.
There were two sides to the conflict: the Anshan Republic, an anti-psyker government who controlled the moon, and the Commonwealth, a society of surviving psykers fighting for their lives. The Commonwealth fleet had already sustained heavy losses but were pressing their attack regardless; at the time we had no idea why.
|Anshan Republic escorts; names unknown; capabilities unknown.|
Our sensor operatives noted that the torpedoes being fired from the Anshan vessels were somehow tracking their targets. This was remarkable, although it did concern me that there may be some form of artificial intelligence at work.
Orvan, the captain of one of the Commonwealth vessels, also told me that the Republic’s concerns over psykers were unfounded as they had sophisticated collars that dampened latent ability. If this was true, it could save billions of lives across the Imperium!
My resolve was clear: we had to find a way to re-integrate these cultures back into the Imperium, and in doing so, acquire the technologies they held.
The problem: psykers are a part of our society. But they are also treated, rightly so, with extreme caution and often executed. Striking that balance has allowed our Empire to grow and defend humanity against xeno threats. But how to re-introduce these societies into the moderate centrism of the Imperium when they both place themselves at ideological extremes?
|Anshan Republic cruisers; names unknown;|
main weapons: broadside batteries of homing torpedoes.
In a string of difficult exchanges with both the Republic and the Commonwealth, we learned that the Commonwealth fleet was attempting the rescue of two hundred psykers scheduled by the Anshan Republic for execution. I thought if we could broker a ceasefire we might have some hope of securing peace, and then later securing trade agreements with both sides.
|Anshan Republic flagship; name unknown; weapon systems include homing torpedoes|
and gunboats 1.5 times the size of thunderhawk gunships.
I called Captain Humbolt of the Republic and attempted to communicate our position on this conflict, extolling the benefits of psykers in allowing us to travel between the stars, form a galactic empire, and communicate across vast distances. But the notion of us having psykers onboard our vessels disgusted Humbolt and she ended the transmission mid-way through my retort.
Dogmatism is not a trait known for its willingness to engage in open discourse.
Hassiq tried to salvage our position, having had more experience at diplomacy, but he didn’t get much further. In fact, he seemed displeased at me for having told the truth about us having psykers! Perhaps that was a little naive.
My father always wanted me to become a politician, perhaps even a planetary governor somewhere in the Gothic sector. It was not something I remotely wanted growing up. I joined the navy as a compromise. “Gain some credentials,” he said, “and see where you are in a few years.” It seems I was right not to have any intention of becoming a politician. I would not do well.
In any case, I handed diplomatic duties over to Hassiq, feeling more than a little deflated.
After Hassiq reiterated to the Republic my points about a twenty thousand year old galactic empire (albeit with more emphasis on the extermination of psykers) the Republic agreed to a temporary ceasefire with the Commonwealth on the understanding that we would take the two hundred untrained psykers onto the Zenith, and use our own traditional means of dealing with them.
In theory it was a good compromise, and it did at least bring the battle to a halt, but neither the Zenith nor the Intemperance had the facilities to subdue latent potential. We lied to stop the fighting, and a few hours later our lie resulted in a crowd of two hundred untrained psykers shuffling their way onto the cargo pads of the Zenith.