“Tech-Priest, since you are the trusted friend of my son and also because you saved his life, I shall do you the favor of warning you to never speak of what you saw again. Am I clear?”
— Lord Gral Vorgen to Explorator Fabian Grax
After the nearly fatal incident in Magos Ordinatus Helion’s dining hall, the Explorers returned to their ship and waited out whatever it was the Genetors and their allies were doing. It wasn’t long before scores of Tech-Priests and Skiitari aligned with Magos Helion were in custody and things began to be set right in The Lathes. Work began at once on refitting The Emperor’s Bounty, Fabian Grax met with the Genetors to indoctrinate himself in their wisdom, and Lucius Vorgen contracted The Lathes’ finest weaponsmiths to improve his power sword. Lucius noted that many of the Tech-Priests operating on both his ship and his weapon would abruptly disappear. However, Lucius, even if he were inclined to care after Helion’s cabal betrayed him, could do nothing about it.
As for Fabian, he emerged from his indoctrination vastly changed, both physically and mentally. Within his mind lay much of the Genetors’ knowledge of various Xenos species, though there was still much to learn. His muscles, as Fabian discovered as he flexed them, were incredibly strong and hard as steel cables. Even his cybernetic arm now had organic muscles delicately intertwined with its mechanisms, and both servo and flesh supported and reinforced one another perfectly. The Genetors had also freed him from the distractions of pain and agony which vex normal men. The most horrific tortures ever conceived would merely be a mild buzz to Fabian, though he worried, perhaps too late, that this new freedom from pain could lead to him unwittingly injuring himself. Regardless of his doubts, he was amazed at his new body, seeing it as proof that the Genetors are right in believing that organic lifeforms are also machines to be respected.
Lucius soon had his newly re-crafted sword in hand, and perhaps taking some small amount of pity on the few remaining craftsmen, he praised their work and made sure their overseers knew of his approval. Perhaps that would be enough to stay the executioner’s axe.
Work on the Emperor’s Bounty proceeded as planned, and it took several weeks for the ship to be refitted with its Zaythian Macrocannon Batteries. Once the refit had been completed, Lucius Vorgen invited many of the most senior Magi aboard his vessel to observe the test-firing. While this was quite a joyous event for them, Fabian had grown distrustful of his own kind and watched them carefully as they conversed amongst one another on the bridge of the Emperor’s Bounty.
The crew hit a snag at the firing range immediately—the guns refused to fire, and the gunnery crews were confused because the indicator lights were green. Fabian politely excused himself from the bridge, traveled down the gun decks, and growled at the crews, “What the $%#@ is going on here?” Such coarse language was, of course, unfitting for a Tech-Priest, but Fabian wanted to get across just how serious the situation was and how many eyes were on them. The crews nervously explained that they simply don’t understand what went wrong, and, with a weary sigh, Fabian told them to step aside as he communed with the mighty weapon’s machine spirit to determine why it would not unleash its wrath.
The safety was on.
Feeling like the Machine God had played a joke on him, Fabian released the safeties, and the indicator lights switched to red, which is apparently the true color for readiness. He reported the problem to Captain Vorgen and his guests after he returned to the bridge, and they enjoyed a chuckle and praised the machine spirits of the batteries for their wisdom and prudence. The batteries fired the same ammunition as ordinary Macrocannons, so the damage done to the targets was the same though the range is somewhat greater. Of more interest to the Magi, however, was the reloading mechanisms, and they were permitted to observe them courtesy of a live video feed relayed to the bridge. Much praising of the Omnissiah followed, and the Emperor’s Bounty returned its guests to The Lathes, leaving them quite pleased with this new discovery.
Now that his ship’s refit was complete, Lucius Vorgen and his crew departed from The Lathes. Before he returned to the Expanse, however, Lucius Vorgen returned to his family’s homeworld, and there had a joyous reunion with his father and sisters. To Fabian’s dismay, Lucius insisted on introducing him to them, and the Explorator clumsily exchanged pleasantries with them. While Fabian would rather have been on the ship looking after it, his time with the Vorgen family was not unpleasant, save for an incident where Fabian came upon Zoe resting on a couch. She did not hear him enter, and the Explorator noticed that something was amiss—a book was floating in the air before Zoe, and the pages seemed to turn before her as if on their own. Fabian was quite shocked by that, quietly leaving. He felt obligated to tell someone, and so went to Lord Gral Vorgen with this strange discovery. The look Lord Vorgen gave him, however, sent a chill down his spine. After a stern warning from the Lord, Fabian left his presence, realizing that, much like Magi, one must be careful about what one says to nobility.
Lucius Vorgen could not stay with his family forever, and so, bidding his family farewell, he returned to his vessel and set course for the Koronus Expanse. Their first stop was Port Wander, of course, and when they arrived they saw that a great many ships were docked there. Upon further investigation, they found that many of the ships were in the service of Joanquin Saul, a Rogue Trader despised by some of his peers because he preferred legitimate trade to the vastly more risky business of smuggling illegal alien artifacts and the like. The Saul and Vorgen families had enjoyed friendly relations before, and so Lucius Vorgen invited Saul to dine with him on his ship.
To Lucius’s surprise, and especially to the surprise of his peers, Jonquin Saul met with Lucius Vorgen on his ship unescorted, either believing in the honor of his host or that Lucius Vorgen wouldn’t dare harm him—or perhaps both. Jonquin Saul told them both that he knew them well, though this hardly soothed Fabian, who believed that this meant that Jonquin was well aware of his troubled past. The Explorator picked at his food awkwardly for the remainder of the dinner, and even accidentally crushed a glass in his hands due to his new strength, but thankfully, no one seemed to notice. Still, the meeting went well enough at first, but as the dinner progressed Jonquin Saul brought up a rather serious matter. It seems that Lucius Vorgen hadn’t simply broken the rules of Footfall by slaughtering Krawkin Feckward, but also certain unwritten rules between Rogue Traders. Vorgen’s peers had apparently come to believe that Vorgen had not simply killed Feckward in self-defense or even that he had tried to avoid a violent confrontation by purchasing the slaves, but that Lucius was spiteful of his rival, and in an act of petty cowardice, directed his lackey to gun him down without mercy.
This story nearly sent Lucius into a rage, who passionately denied it. Jonquin Saul had no reason to doubt him, and tried to calmly explain that Lucius had crossed a line and that he may suffer dire consequences for doing so. Lucius fervently argued his case, however, demanding to know if he ought to have stood aside while thousands of innocent people were sold as slaves to Emperor knows who or for what. Jonquin tried to re-explain the situation Lucius was in, but Lucius would not hear it and insisted he did the right thing. They went back and forth in what seemed like a heated exchange to Fabian, who grew concerned that Jonquin Saul might take offense, and so he tried to divert the conversation to other topics, but without success. Fortunately, Jonquin was not offended, and wished Lucius good fortune before he departed the ship. When he was gone, Fabian begged Lucius to listen to what Jonquin tried to tell him, but Lucius only seemed to grow angry with him, repeating many of the same points he had made to Jonquin.
Fabian felt resigned as they undocked from Port Wander. Thus far Lucius Vorgen has survived everything a cruel galaxy has thrown at him, but he wondered if the proud Rogue Trader could be saved from himself?