Opening Music - Sword of the Stranger, Ihojin No YaibaAmbition knows no bounds. My father taught me that. My great-grandfather taught him that. My greatest ancestor proved it. And I learned it well.
It is the 41st Millenium. The God-Emperor of Mankind sits upon the Golden Throne on Holy Terra, his body broken and shattered. The Imperium of Man stands in it’s twilight; attacked on all sides by foes more legion than ever before. Xenos of all stripes, fierce and terrible, cry havoc and wreak destruction with wild abandon. Chaos, traitors and heretics, creep in, insidious and foul, at the borders; subverting what they can and annihilating what they cannot. And amidst our own, opportunists and villains take advantage of these fading decades and centuries as best they can. It is a galaxy in flames. A galaxy ever at war. A galaxy watched over by a glorious Emperor and his fading Imperium, and filled with the cruel laughter of blood-thirsting gods.
And yet…into one place in this galaxy flies a single ship. A grand and ancient vessel, but one battered and bloodied, a last hurrah from a dying house, struggling against the onset of night. Yet, if there is one truth as to this dark millenium, it is this; no man will die quietly. No man will fade without a fight.
My name is Alexei Nikolayevitch Zhukov. Last hope of the Zhukov Family. Rogue Trader of the Imperium of Man. Leader of the most ragged band of misfits ever seen in the Imperium. Lord-Captain of the Angel of Vengeance.
I have ambition. And so does my crew.
These are our stories.
The depths of the void stand silent, cold and trackless. Points of light, stars of the galaxy, give what little light they can against the ever-present dark.
At one place, at the edge of the Calixis Sector, stands an ancient station; a port, a passage. Port Wander stands, a mixture of rust and glitter, the last bastion of Imperial law before The Maw and the Expanse beyond. It is both glorious and pitiful at the same time, gothic and grand, but aged and worn with the passing of innumerable years. Thousands, tens of thousands make this ancient station their home; swaggering civilian captains, merchants fat of purse and jowl, members of Administratum, Ecclesiarchy, and more make livings and killings here. Here, one may trust to the Emperor’s Law, albeit through gelt, thrones, and influence. Beyond…only what law a captain may enforce with chainsword and macrocannon.
Those at the Port this day go about their buisness as usual; somewhere near the primary void docks, a freighter captain argues with an overly fat merchant as to the price of his goods, brought at great danger through the chaos of the Maw. Somewhere in the Sensorium, a man, or what was a man, sits wired and bolted to an assortment of machines, his enhanced mind tracking a staggering number of comings and goings through the old auspex relays. Deep within the bowels of forgotten passageways, a thug runs screaming from something hideous and foul, it’s claws lancing into his helpless back and dragging him into the dark.
Something…different comes this day, however. A merchant, bored and idle, looks through an armorglas window, taking a moment to stare into the Void…and sees something. A glow. A glow that grows ever larger. For a split-second, the Warp seethes and roils, and spits something out; a ship. Larger than nearly any other currently at dock, save one or two Battlefleet Koronus cruisers.
An ancient battlecruiser, marked with long-held scars of battle, aims itself towards the Port, a low hum emitting from it’s long-range voxcasters towards the Powers What Be at the station itself. We circle around the battlecruiser, seeing it’s aged appearance, macrocannon batteries and lance hidden through strange means, the still-elaborate gilded Warpsbane hull, with a statue of Ollanius Pius standing proud a-midships, standing both figuratively and literally between the daemons of the Warp and the crew within. We see it’s massive engines, still spitting plasma and fire into the Void as the ship moves resolutely on, the old fighter bay, where men and women, tiny as ants, can be seen scrambling as duties are assigned and discharged in rapid order; port awaits!
We see a large window, below the top of the ship; we see a bridge, an elaborate bridge, a ship's command centre that should be at the head of a proud house fleet, where men and women in aged uniforms move with almost indecent haste. And a man, in an impeccable uniform, with a power sword and plasma pistol on his belt, an ancient chainsword upon his back, an elaborate hat on his head, and a half-smile on his face, sits upon the command throne of his ship, and stares out past his men at the station in the distance.
Lord-Captain Alexei Zhukov, third son of three, stands from his command throne, and makes a sweeping gesture. Activity, save that of the most important duties, ceases on the bridge, and all eyes fix on him. He points to a single vox officer, and speaks calmly.“Command crew to the briefing room. On the double. Gentlemen...we have arrived.”
The bridge crew immediately snap to salutes, roaring “Yes, sir!” and return to their duties, the one vox officer murmuring the arcane rituals of activation before speaking into the ship’s vox;“Attention, attention; Angel of Vengeance command crew are to report to the briefing room on the double. Repeat, First Officer Leonidas Ferox, Master-At-Arms Garyn Saar, Enginseer Prime Ourus Mestillan, and Master Helmsman Alt Kiriel to the briefing room ASAP. That is all.”
Alexei nods his approval, then turns, the hem of his coat sweeping behind him. His boots thud onto the deckplates as he walks through an aged door, the machine spirit creaking and clanking as it struggles to open before him. Without a word, he steps through and into the room beyond, leaving the bridge crew to their duties as the ship slowly glides through the Void towards their destination.