Somewhere deep in the bowels of the light cruiser Douqep . . .


With his most loyal and fearsome mercenaries in his wake, Haab enters the forge of the tech-priests with maddened purpose.

“Step before me, o priest of the iron skull. I see you stand before the forge fires, mending tools of our emperor, unharmed by the flame. How do you do it? How does the heat of the plasma not sear your skin and drive you mad with anguish? Hah. But I do know. Your pain is on the surface, or what surface of flesh you have left amongst your cogs and pipes. All pain is tolerable, when it be your life’s work.”

Flanked by Bronze John of the Broken Pipe Highlanders and Babadeep Hargobind of the Golden Lions, Haab presses a blackened leather bag into the claw-like hand of the tech-priest.

“Make for me a barb, a pike that will break through the witch’s skull and banish the cursed beast of Tempest. Take these chain links, salted bonds of my homeworld, memories of the men who drowned in the storms. They will provide you an iron like no other, an iron gifted with hatred and blessed with our holy vengeful purpose.”


Through the weeks of warp travel, the tech-priests hammer the chains of Haab’s dead crew. Folded countless times into a wicked and terrible creation, the tech-priests whisper of its unholy purpose, convinced of their heresy but terrified to disobey Haab. They would not be the first to be thrown into the void as a consequence of his rage.

At last the device is ready for its final temper. Haab attends its coronation, again accompanied by his most trusted men.

“Cease your final incantations, machine-men! There is one more step to take beyond your skilled and powerful craft. Come to me, men of violence and hunters of the stars. Spill your blood in this vessel, and let me apply a final temper of truth to this weapon.”

Each of the mercenary captains splits his palm with his own blade, and clenching a fist, drips the blood into a copper bowl. The last hand cut is Haab’s own, and his white knuckled fist provides a dark arterial red. The tech-priests step back in horror and fear as Haab pours the blood into the quenching oil and heats the harpoon’s blade upon the plasma forge.

Howling, Haab swears an oath upon the metal.

“Ego non baptizo te in nomine Imperator, sed in nomine vindicta! I forge this as a tool of destruction, as penance for my failures, and to bring about my noble purpose!”

Haab thrusts the blade into the quench. The oil burns with a thick black smoke, while the metal hungrily absorbs the blood. . .

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