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Stukov saw, out of the corner of his eye, one of his men, a good and stout lad, too headstrong for his own good, move in and bayonet the abomination in the back. Granted, all that did was piss it off at this rate, but as it impulsively turned to throttle and kill the offending voidsman, that bought the Voidmaster precious moments to act. Quickly loading an inferno shell and racking it home, Stukov would slam the bayonet upwards, lodging it into the neck of the Tzaangor before jerking the trigger, incinerating the beast's head in a gout of fire and shot, dropping free the grappled Voidsman as Stukov shouldered the collapsing corpse aside, rapidly reloading standard buckshot before opening fire once more, covering the voidsman who had come to his aid.


The Voidmaster reached to his belt, grabbing a concussion grenade, priming it, and hurling it towards the emerging Daemons. They still practiced Gellar Field failure drills, and often times it was simply more effective to seal off lost decks that had daemons on them until a return to realspace, Emperor willing, could be made. Failing that, explosives and heavy weapons were preferred. Frags were rare, as the fragments would do almost as much damage to ship's components as they would the enemy. But concussion grenades would maul flesh and even armored foes, as the shockwave cared not for light armor, without doing much to the ship itself. A perfect blend of completion of duties, and something to be mused on another day. Other explosions had staggered and left ears ringing, but the Voidmaster could not afford the luxury of being seen as faltering, keeping himself upright through sheer stubbornness and bracing. His men were doing exactly what was to be expected of them, and that left it to him to perform his duties. To carry on fighting, and screening his men as best he could, injuries, abominations, or daemons be damned.
Alexander Whitmoore

"Fine, I'll take the burden. Given the input so far, here's the plan."

Whitmoore finally spoke up, having simply observed and listened while the others chimed in and said their pieces. Questions of whether or not a group this size could take on the raiders, dissent in that they could, questioning as to a million different possible ways to take the situation on. Whitmoore gave himself a moment to compose himself, reminding himself of what his brothers and sisters taught him growing up back in the bunker on leadership. One leader, one vote. Advisement was all fine and well, but it was ultimately the leader, whether its a scribe or a paladin, who makes the call. And takes the fall, if the call is wrong. There was makings of a good plan here, a lot of ideas to digest, but end of the day, they were raider scum. They would gladly take them for a ride and not turn a single hostage loose as 'leverage' for future extortion, while keeping them barely alive and thoroughly abused. No, there would be no honest negotiation with them, but who said anything about honest negotiation.

"We have the manpower and resources to make this happen. While every one of these raiders have to be put down for the good of the area, she's right, the moment gunfire starts, they start executing, if for no other reason than spite. So, we don't give them the chance. We have a map giving us a rough layout, and as we get closer, we have our best sneak case the place ahead of us, find a good backdoor. Places like this never only have one door, and once that's determined, we split into two teams. The backdoor team takes the best sneak, and two supporting. Ideally those who can break and enter, and fight well enough to hold a line if things go south. They go in, find the hostages, get em out. If they can't, they hunker down and keep the raiders from getting trigger happy. The rest back up our best talker, who's going to sell the raider leader such a line of brahman shit that he won't even know it stinks. Keep him talking, keep him and his goons distracted until one of two things. A predesignated signal, or shooting starts. And then? Not a single raider gets out alive, and we push to clear the place as quickly as we can. Make sense?"

Whitmoore had, during his little laying out of a plan, walked up to where the map was, and gave it a once over while considering his own words. He wasn't a fan of giving orders or, hell, taking them either. That being said, someone had to do it, and he was prepared to take the fall if this didn't work. He could always move on, even if it meant being exiled for failure, the rest could simply lay the blame at his feet. Objectively, he had the least the lose in this situation. The woman had spoken truly, and while he wished they had time for fancy drugs and waiting, they didn't. The raiders would be expecting a group to come with the supplies, or to negotiate, or something. Snow had been mentioned which, in better circumstances, would have brought a fond smile to his face.

"Long as we keep our bearings straight, the snow will help us actually. Because the raiders will be just as blind as we are, with some experience leading the way, we can get a good count of things before they ever realize we are there."
Alexander Whitmoore

"Another day, another job. Let's see if anything interesting crops up."

Alexander Whitmoore was currently going through his belongings, preparing for another day earning his keep in Whitlash, though day was metaphorical in this case. His keep lately had been taking the late night or early morning guard shifts, providing an extra pair of eyes and hands to help relieve the stress that kind of tasking did. He never had settled into a single role, Whitlash didn't exactly bustle with pre-war tech needing a unique understanding and experience, though it did come up every now and again whenever some trader rolled in with something odd. Still, nothing that required a level of scientific know how that would leave people questioning just where this gunhand from the North had picked it up. Suited him just fine, frankly, showing his hand too much would get people asking questions, something that, if experience with the last time a town caught wind he was from the Brotherhood, should be avoided if at all possible. Lot of folks here seemed to have their secrets though, and something about the place just wouldn't let him go yet. Didn't stop him from slinging his bugout bag though, that never left his side, even on patrol. Especially on patrol, frankly, never knew when you might need to make yourself scarce.

Of course, the patrol wasn't exactly eventful, it never was these days. It kept folks content though, knowing they had folks walking the perimeter and keeping an eye out for trouble. Whitmoore had the luxury of even seeing the sunrise, something he wouldn't complain about. Everything folks had done, sun kept on rising and setting, regular as you might breath really. Helped put things in perspective, they couldn't screw things up that badly that the sun just stopped poking her head up over the horizon every morning. Someone could draw comfort from that, that things like that kept ticking on like nothing had changed. Still, with the rising sun meant his shift on the patrol was done, and sure enough his relief came strolling on out, and after a few pleasant words exchanged, and a report of nothing amiss, Whitmoore had the rest of his day clear. Well, until he turned in early, but that was a later problem. Strolling back into town, he took time to walk about, chatting with folks who were out doing work or taking care of chores, or like him had some downtime to chatter. It was good to keep up to speed with what was going on, and he'd settled in enough for folks to not mind the Northener chattering about nothing in particular.

Still, Whitmoore's wanderings were interrupted by the ringing of the town hall bell. That meant a meeting, which meant something came up. Another constant, really, the bell ringing in new excitement into their collective lives. Well, he'd heard an old pre-war phrase from one of his mentors growing up that such a thought brought to mind. 'May you live in interesting times', while pleasant on the face of it, was in fact quite the nasty thing to go saying to someone. Most folks never cared for interesting times, it upended lives and made things, well, interesting, which was the problem. That being said, though, he would be interested to see just what had come on blowing down the road, this time, and just how 'interesting' it would make things compared to the usual daily rigors of survival. Excusing himself, Whitmoore made his way to the town hall, a lot of seating already taken up. Couple different folks stood out, including one fellow who'd proven to be quite the entertaining person to talk with, kept up his own farm and helped feed everyone. Honest work, that, to be respected, and had taken up a sentry's position in the hall. There were a few other folk that stood out, though his dealings with them remained to be seen in earnest. He took up a place about halfway forward, leaning on a wall and making himself as comfortable as he could, leaving seating for those who would want for it more. He wasn't one for sitting about unless he had something to work on, and he doubted it would be the case here.

Stukov kept firing his shotgun into the ranks of the oncoming tide, sweeping back and forth and indiscriminately peppering the oncoming cultists with buckshot. He wouldn't resort to more esoteric ammunition, not yet, not until the need was truly dire. They were holding the line, thankfully, the constant drills and readiness exercises were paying dividends currently. Of course, not all things could go the way of the crew, and the blasted Tzaangor rushed forward to engage the frontline. Which meant they rushed right into the waiting stance of Stukov and his shotgun. He focused his attention on the closest, slam firing as the thing roared and carried forward, slowing its charge but not arresting it fully, forced to engage in melee with the abomination. But if they expected the Voidmaster to be found wanting, they would be sorely disappointed. A downward blade swing was deflected with a sideways bayonet strike, the reinforced weapon proving its worth as the blade narrowly glanced away, and left an opening for the Voidmaster to slam his bayonet upwards into the beast's throat, before firing the last shell in the weapon right into the things jaw, decapitating it in a spray of gore and blood. Stukov had a chance to shove the corpse back in time to catch, out of the corner of his eye, the Rogue Trader get launched back. As much as instinct screamed he move to assist, he had no such luxury.

Another of the Tzaangor were upon him, inclined to try and take advantage of the Voidmaster's emptied shotgun. Snarling, Stukov found himself engaged in a hard fought brawl with the creature, pitting his agility and experience versus the beast's strength and inhuman durability. He couldn't withdraw either, not without putting more of the line at risk of being overrun. Given the abomination gave him no room to reload, he had to strike with bayonet and reinforced stock, landing cuts and blows, though he would only be chipping away at the creature at this rate. This was no time for thoughts though, as another blade swing nearly took his head off, feeling the blade give him a near close shave over his head, though it created an opening to land a good thrust into its side, burying the bayonet deep and leaving a nasty open wound in its side, though he was back on the defensive again, though he was forcing openings when he could. He'd put this one down in due time, though not in time to assist the others with their trouble. He'd have to put his faith in their capabilities to not buckle so soon in the face of trouble that found them this soon.
Work had me delayed, but here we are, got him sorted out finally.

Gerard had settled on a modest course, modest by the standards of those present at least, of meals as the others began filing in. The Harakoni Primaris, with his handler in tow as well. Bodyguard was...a nice term for it, as he understood the man was there to ensure the Psyker would not lose all control and become a threat to his allies. A grim necessity, but one of many that their lives required. Still, the man, despite his recaf addiction, had not proven to be an unpleasant fellow, though frankly he'd had very little dealings with the psyker. Still, the display on the strawberry was noteworthy, that wasn't the right word for it, it didn't look unnatural despite the obvious change in size, it was improved upon rather than forcibly altered. Quite the precise work, something that would be appreciated in the coming hard times no doubt. The voidmaster offered a polite nod to the psyker and his handler when they settled in, though not interrupting whatever meditations the man had begun to undertake.

“Well that’s gotta be th’biggest strawber’I’ve ever seen!”

The Kin certainly seemed to agree with Gerard's unspoken considerations, and was a man that the voidmaster, frankly, he did not have a good read on at all. Pleasant enough as well, brewed his own drink as far as he understood it, and he'd caught glimpses of the Kin in the observation deck, watching the passing Webway with various tools that were quite beyond Gerard. The gear heads were probably intensely interested in the Kin's kit, but they probably didn't have the resources to barter with to get the clothes off the fellow's back, so that really was that. Still, the technological prowess and sheer fighting capabilities would be most welcome indeed when trouble finally came knocking. A question being directed at him got his thoughts back on track, whether he'd seen the webway before, and he shook his head briefly.

"This is the first time, my last vessel never had the luxury. I did take a look on the observation deck, quite the display, much calmer than normal methods." Gerard wondered to himself whether the webway might have saved his last vessel, not having to make perilous jumps through the warp and very possibly being tracked by the chaos pirates, would have saved most of the souls on board that vessel. Something to ruminate over when he had a stiff drink, this was to be a grand feast ahead of a daunting, many called impossible, task. Impossible didn't mean much to Gerard anymore, the state of affairs the galaxy found itself in was impossible, and they lived it every day. The Captain offered a toast, the voidmaster joining the display alongside the others who were present, and the feast began in earnest.

Which, of course, would not last as the moment Gerard heard the weapons impacts on void shields, he was already on his feet and halfway out the door. He had to grab his shotgun, determine where the most severe breach was, and from there respond accordingly. The ship was already coming to general quarters, disciplined chatter across the vox as lockers armed and prepared to repel boarders, and the voidmaster moved at a full sprint, crew making way without a word as he stopped at his office, grabbing the shotgun and as much ammo as he could stuff into his fatigues, and was on his way back to the officer's suite to report to the Captain when the all too familiar tremors, tearing, and noise of assault boats breaching the hull rang out. He had just reached the doorway of the suite to make initial reports when the sounds of pitched battle echoed down from the observation deck.

"Voidsmen are responding to all boarding actions, most pitched appears to be the Observation deck. Heading there now, Sir." With that, Stukov took off yet again, armed and ready to respond, and as he turned the final steps towards the intense sounds of battle, it was a grim scene. Many Voidsmen were pressed by the tide, no heavy weapons had made it up here yet, and the outnumbered crew would not hold long on their own. The shouting, las fire, and other weapons on hand were joined by the slam firing barks of the artificer shotgun, announcing to all hands the arrival of their Voidmaster, his voice roaring above the din as he advanced and took command of the situation.

"FORM. RANKS! ASSUME TOTAL KILL PATTERNS, THERE IS NO DRIVING THEM BACK TO THEIR VESSELS! SECONDARY LOCKERS, GET DECK SWEEPERS TO THE OBSERVATION DECK NOW!" Gerard moved himself to the thick of the fighting, every time his shotgun ringing empty he would rack the slide only half way, ejecting the empty shell and reloading through the same port, before racking and loading normally when possible. Anyone who engaged him in melee would find bayonet and reinforced stock waiting, and his plan was to create as much space as possible for the beset voidsmen to form ranks. One would normally hope the rest of the combat capable in the officer's suite would join him, but frankly, Gerard had settled into combat mode, it was another pitched boarding action, and he would sooner die than have another vessel get overrun.
"Right, the week's drills have been disseminated to each of your data slates, make sure the lockers and squads are up to standards before beginning the drills. Just because we have the luxury of a relatively safe leg of the journey doesn't mean we get to slack off. I expect drill reports within a standard day after completion of the drill, as usual. Now get going, another day of work to be done." The subordinates departed after saluting, leaving Gerard Stukov alone in his office/quarters/whatever purpose it was serving today. While relatively spartan by Rogue Trader standards, it was leaps and bounds more luxurious than anything that the voidmaster had known before. That didn't excuse anyone else that answered to him from being able to slack off, however, as the voidmaster was determined to keep this ship as safe as he could possibly ensure, which meant plenty of drills, maintenance, and a whole battery of readiness checks to ensure the safety of ship and crew.

Turning from the closed hatch, Gerard started going through his own data slate, reviewing upcoming meetings he was required to be at. Silas Celeton, the Rogue Trader he was in the direct employ and the ship's Captain, was having a meeting for the various senior officers on board the ship. He had been both pleasantly, and unpleasantly, surprised to be serving aboard another Dauntless class so soon, as heavily retrofitted and modernized as this one was, the new weight suited her well. That being said, he tightened the straps on his carapace breastplate, something he wore at all times when not actively in his rack, and gave himself a once over. Dressed about as well as usual, fatigues and armor, any exposed bionics were clean and polished, clean shaven as usual, both head and chin. Good, he was as presentable as he ever got, and he patted himself down briefly. His pistol was securely holstered, the shotgun secured in the rack beside his desk, it wouldn't be needed for this meeting, doubly so since they were undergoing webway transit currently.

"Right, let's see what the skipper has rattling around in that head of his today..." Exiting his quarters, Gerard moved at brisk pace. He'd be just a few minutes early, which was the bare minimum to be acceptable frankly, but the meeting with the subordinates had ran longer than anticipated. Typical, frankly, hence the built in wiggle room between meetings and such. Fortunately he had not eaten yet, given the meal that was waiting. Swapping nods and quick words with crew as he walked, he did as he always did, kept as up to date on the ship's condition, as well as her crew, at all times. He was no Tech Priest, but it was often easier to talk to another human than it was the the gear heads, and he had more experience talking to them given his own encounters with them. Though thanks to his wandering thoughts, he arrived at the officer's suite in rather short order and, after a moment, entered.

"Sir, Gerard Stukov reporting. Seems like I've made it early as usual." Gerard would give a crisp, brief salute to the Rogue Trader before taking a seat, patiently waiting for the others who would be attending to arrive. A rather mixed bag, by all accounts, but what Rogue Trader could boast something as impressive as having an utterly mundane inner circle of officers and advisors? That being said, he did review his data slate again before the others arrived, seeing if anything worth mentioning would be present currently. Everything had been going as smoothly as one could reasonably expect, which was unusual in and of itself. Perhaps this meeting would be the thing that unstuck everything, such was life sailing the stars after all.
Alright, no more delays, CS time.

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