6 short months after the end of the Emperor Wars, which had raged for decades, a reckoning was coming due. Factions within the church, the guilds, and especially the nobility, who had advanced their own agendas and contenders for the Phoenix Throne, found themselves in positions of embarrassment and disgrace when Alexiu Hawkwood ascended to the throne. To regain former prestige and power, individuals from all levels of power (and responsibility) were offered up to the agents of the Imperial Eye as scapegoats (for treason, insurrection, sedition, and terrorism, mostly). Moving before the Imperial Eye had finished its reorganization, the Inquisition moved in on certain "disenfranchised" personnel, those believed to be involved in the Katharos Heresy. Rounded up from the Known Worlds on the Galliot Class Inquisition vessel Torquemada 7, commanded by the Priest Rainier Sacconi of the Temple Avesti, the sinners were brought to Pyre for judgment. When put to the question, all confessed varying levels of activity for the movement, even those that held out for months before breaking. The heretics were universally ex-communicated and branded as heretics with the seal of the barred jumpgate. They served as menial labor on Pyre for several months as the interrogations continued, when the Imperial Eye investigation located where exactly these people were.
Captain Sacconi had a new mission.. to take the traitors to Byzantium Secundus for secular judgment immediately. A dozen shuffling bodies were led to the lowest level of the ship in Muster chains. Less than half a dozen jumps and more than a month later, even the least traveled captive realized that surely they should be on Byzantium Secundus by now. Not that it was an eagerly awaited destination. The ship entered a gravity well and settled down for two days of infrequent prisoner care. Whispered conversations in the hall outside the cells suggested that the ship was on the interdicted world of Nowhere, past the Stigamta Garrison, which fought to keep the Known Worlds safe from being overrun by the horrors of the Symbiont race. Further, the ship was there for the purpose of capturing one renegade noble, Count Esteban Ramirez. Apparently, the results were less than could be hoped, from the Inquisition's viewpoint. Late the second day of being planetbound, the Torquemada 7 rocketed skyward, at an odd hour, and with no warning to the captives, which was unusual.
The prisoners waited, confused in their cells. The cells were three and a half cubits in each direction, were of featureless metal alloy, and contained nothing, except the captives, a bed roll, and automated winch dome in the cell floor, which controlled how much of the one meter chain that ran from manacle to manacle was available at any time. Suspicions ran high that the circular depression on the floor allowed the members of the ship's crew to jettison contents of individual cells. The pressure doors that led into each cell seemed to bear this out. The cell deck of the Inquisition Galliot class vessel Torquemada VII. Iron booted heels march past cell door after cell door, each precisely spaced, each bearing a stamped metal placard inscribed with a name. Azeari, Lamiak, Sorgin, Mendi, Otso, Aritz, Erreka, Jaunak, Zabal. At the end of the corridor, an oubliette, where the Vorox, Gaueko, was caged.
Following the night of the hasty departure, breakfast (thick gruel, bread and a tin of water - the same meal as lunch and dinner) arrived on schedule. The crew members seemed tight lipped and grim, moreso than their usual Inquisition selves. Several days passed in this manner, when several explosions in quick sequence rocked the Torquemada 7 immediately before the jump engines fired and propelled the ship though the jumpgate. Claxons sounded and warning lights flashed, and the jump itself was different than any experienced yet by the prisoners. The ship drifted back into realspace. Eventually the engines hummed to life and the ship began moving of its own power. For days afterwards the crew was rarely seen, save for irregular meals and what was apparently a Vorox in a frenzy at the end of the cell block. That was the first time the team of Brother Battle Adepts in the crew was seen. And as they left, the last.
And more explosions rocked the ship. Unlike the first incident,
these were irregularly timed and of varying power, and very definitely
originated from outside the ship. They had immediate, and devastating effect.
The ship's hull rattled and jerked as it entered an atmosphere. The ship slipped
sideways, and with a grinding, tearing sound, began to fragment. This was the
last the captives would see of the mostly intact ship. The pressure doors on the
cells slid closed with a thump, and the automated winch began dragging the
prisoners toward the center of their cells. The cells began to fill with a pink,
bubbly, sticky, mess which seemed a somewhat elaborate method of execution, and
the prisoners lost consciousness.
Which, when regained, proved a mixed blessing. Cell cubes are dashed and deformed, forming a minority of the stream of technological debris that adorns the surface of wherever, in a glittering string. A few prisoners in proximity to each other pull themselves completely out of the cells, and stagger erect. The manacles and chains are intact, but are disconnected from the winch. The pink foam has congealed, and seems to peel off rather easily. The surface of planet the shipp ran into is severely broken, with rocky spires and buttes predominating the view. Underfoot, the ground seems a bright chromic blue, glassy and smooth in texture, warmer than the night air above it. It's hard to imagine a less pleasant surface to walk on in the twilight darkness that abounds . Grey clouds intermittently cover the starry, clear sky, two tiny moons of orange and green, and an occasional jet of flame. The cold, dry air seemed thin, as if at a great height, and nosebleeds are a more immediate concern than slippery footing leading to slashed feet and ankles. Save for a few scrapes and bruises, everyone seems intact, but, perhaps as a result of the explosion and crash, sounds are tinny and dim. It's expected this will pass.