Rogue Trader: Intermission 9: The Hard Road
This takes place just prior to
I didn’t ask to be lord captain. It never once occurred to me that I would take command of the vessel – not once.
But, men must be governed. The ship was in a rapid decline, the captain of the time was running it, its crew, and with it, the entire reason we were out here, in some emperor-forsaken sector of space, into the ground. The drunken, fornicating heretic was killing us all – we just didn’t realise it then.
I look back and wonder if I could have, or should have, done something about it. I sometimes wonder if some of those brave servants of the emperor would be alive had I done things differently – but what could I have done? He was the lord captain, he held the warrant of trade – his authority was not in question, only his competence.
I wonder if I am up to this task – leading the ship, its crew and all who depend on us to safety. The enemies are great and our numbers are small. The odds of us all surviving are insurmountable, but I refuse to accept another death needlessly. Too much blood is already on my hands from my failure to stop him when I could. The fault lies with me for failing to destroy the vessels attacking it, my blind warp jump led us to this graveyard.
How can we maintain hope in such a place? We seemed to arrive in a place where ships and people go to die. I don’t know what drives me now, beyond wanting to see my friends, my crew, survive. If I should have to die to see that so, then so be it.
I pray to the emperor nightly. I ask of him – why does he keep me alive? Why, when all of my friends and shipmates die burning around me in the wreckage of a ship, does he see me live? What have I done to earn this? Why did he see fit to deliver me to the hands of those eldar, to deliver me to what felt like an eternity of suffering. Why does he not let me die?
Life was so much simpler when the eldar held me in their chamber of horrors. I sometimes wonder why they decided to let me go – if they did. The hardest part was learning to trust my own judgement again. I was never sure, for the first few months after it at least, which thoughts were mine, and which were his.. hers.. its. I used to remember his.. her ..its name… if it even had a name. It felt like it did.
I will find him again to learn this name, if nothing else.
And then I will exact my revenge upon him. I won’t give him the chance to learn to enjoy his treatment, I won’t draw it out and afford him the opportunity to escape. I will end him… her … it, decisively.
But now, it’s not all I have to do. I have a ship, a crew that depends on me, people that I owe everything to for keeping me alive and giving me purpose where I thought all hope was lost. I have to see them though to safety, I have to build the dynasty, bring honour to it, a sense of justice and morality, and profit. I have to do all of these things, but first, I need to get us out of here.
Lord Captain Xanatov
The Vengeance of St. Drusus.