“Princess, we . . . we are being hailed.” The helmsman said in confusion.

“Let it through.” Janriss replied. “I was expecting something like this after the reports I received from the Domilcus Station.”

Janriss Ulthuan, or Janriss Voidstrider to some, sat in the captain’s chair of the Spear of Khaine, the flagship of her corsair fleet. She turned to the viewscreen as it flickered to life, the image of an imperious human female appearing there.

“Inquisitor,” Janriss said, smiling as she laid back in her chair, steepling her fingers, “What can I do for you?” The deckhands and command staff gone¬†silent, so as not to¬†interrupt this conversion, but also, she knew, to listen in for any useful information they may use.

“I wish to. . . hire. . . your fleet.” The inquisitor replied. “I have some goods and information that may be useful to you, if you can retrieve some information for me.”

“We are not spies, Selena. We are not infiltrators. We are… traders. Your Imperium has operatives for this kind of thing. Don’t waste my time.”

“Traders? You sacked the space port Ecrion and raided dozens of merchant fleets. You’re pirates. Don’t try to pretend otherwise. You exist at our behest.”

Janriss leaned forward in her chair, gaze intense on the viewscreen. “You mean you wouldn’t dare threaten the tenuous peace you have with El’doryyn by attacking an Eldar fleet. I’m not some barbarous rogue trader pirate. I know exactly where you stand. Now unless you have something for me, don’t waste my time again.” She moved to disconnect the transmission.

“Oh I’m sure the Craftworld doesn’t much care for you right now.” Selena said, smiling. If she was disturbed by being called out, she showed no sign.

“What do you mean?” Janriss replied.

“I know after the ‘calamity’, as they’re calling it, in the Andorheim Compact, you had some… shall I say harsh words? With your former craftworld. I have a potential solution.”

“You are well informed, it seems. Very well, what do you propose?”

“I offer you a chance to make up with El’doryyn. We have recently come into possession of quite a number of Eldar spirit stones and-” At this, the crew began to mutter angrily. Some stood up and shook their fists at the view screen.

“What!” Janriss interrupted, standing up herself, “I should kill you right now and take-”

“Be calm, princess, I will return these to you. I do not need them, and as you say, the peace with El’doryyn is so… tenuous. I don’t wish to endanger it. I merely have not been in contact with an El’doryyn affiliated Eldar in quite some time. I will return these to you, and let you give them to the craftworld. I know how valuable these are to your people, and it should help repair your relations with the craftworld.”

“What do you want in return?” Janriss posture was all fury.

“Like I said, I am not holding these hostage. I will return the spirit stones to you regardless. I would, however, like for you to retrieve the datacore of the Ghost of the Void, an Inquisitorial blackship under the command of one Inquisitor Argus Bairo.”

“Do you care how we retrieve it?”

Selena smiled. “It is not well defended, there are less than 10 ships in his fleet, and I know you can outmatch it. Just make sure you retrieve the datacore. And try not to kill the inquisitor himself, or we may have to retaliate. Even in a sector as disorganized as this one, the murder of an inquisitor does not go unnoticed.”

“I want trading rights in the Compact.”

“How sentimental.” Selena smiled. “We both know you are already nearly the number one source of trade in the compact.”

“Yes, but that doesn’t stop the imperial ships firing on my fleet, and a rogue trader has started moving in on my operations recently. I want an official trade sanction. That will keep your vessels off my back, and shove the rogue trader out.”

Selena looked thoughtful for a moment. “Done” she said, “I’ll pull some strings and get the documents drawn up.”

“Good. Send me the information on this Ghost of the Void. I will collect the spirit stones myself.”

Ending the transmission, Janriss turned to the bridge. “Ylduin, get baron Tal’rian to meet me in my quarters. Helmsman, let me know when we receive the coordinates and set a course.”

+++++

15 minutes later, after the Spear of Khaine had set a course for the Ravenforge system, Tal’rian walked into Janriss’ quarters.
“My princess, what is it that you need?” he asked, formal as ever.

“I have a mission for you, brother.”

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