Rogue Trader:Intermission 1: The Gambit.

The Gambit.

(Note: This story takes place just after Xanatovs assassination attempt in

They ran through the claustrophobic tunnels of the Underhive, vaulting over cables and chem-pipes thicker than a man’s torso. They had spilt-up and regrouped and then split again, ducking into narrow maintenance corridors, clambering hand-over-hand along rusted ladders and treacherously unstable gantries, ever changing the course of their flight to evade pursuit. Fanom ducked and rolled underneath a jet of superheated steam which boiled out from a rupture in the cable-lined ceiling of the access chamber he had just entered.

All about him were signs of his home, his territory, his family’s territory. Let the Arbitrators and the spire-sponsored kill-teams come down here, he thought. They think that they are schooled in the power-plays and petty intrigues of the nobility, but down here in the Underhive, they were just so much meat. They were weak, he mused. They relied upon overwhelming firepower and the support of the Imperial classes to oversee their petty rule. He had been that way once as well, before he had gone down into the Underhive, found the shrine and shed his blood on the alter that the Verminspeakers and Tox-Seers had erected to his new God. Fanom paused in his flight, the rest of his followers would soon reach this spot. Then they would journey into the chamber with the livid eyes and the crawling walls.

It wouldn’t be long now before he could make an offering to his new God in exchange for vengeance against that pitiful weakling fool who bore his father’s name. They thought he was dead, he’d seen his former advisor executed by the assassin his grand-brother had sent. The new God has masked his bio-spoor with one of its diseased miracles and transferred the taste of his flesh to Ghillom, his former servant. All the God had required was a pound of Fanom’s flesh and his old name. It mattered not that the bastard Siegmund – cold, dead seed of his father’s loins – would inherit the Dynastic Warrant. Siegmund was a fool, a snivelling coward who had never met his grand-brother Parcifal. It did not matter that Parcifal was a famous guilder and the lord of a system wide trading syndicate. It no longer mattered, because Parcifal was dead. The creature that went by the name of Fanom had seen to that. It was like the shedding of skin, or purging oneself of a particularly troublesome weakness. Parcifal had entered into a cocoon of secret rites and bleak obligations and had emerged as Fanom, a creature so suited to the task of bringing down ruin upon this world that the others had named him Hierarch Horribilius and Malleus Maleifica . Soon Malfi would be drowned beneath a tide of filth and madness. The black sun would devour the old star and his hungering God would be appeased with the murder of an entire world. He would have his grand-brother’s attention soon enough.


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