For Whom the Bell Tolls
"Let's find some wine, eh?"
The Hook family line is old. Some say it is as old as the colony itself, upon Jalsk V. The family was installed by the Adeptus Adminstratum as spies, to ensure the often wayward nobility of this low-technology, though rich world were paying the appropriate tithes. Jalsk V is a rich planet, luscious with food and water, minerals and other natural resources. Four moons orbit the planet, rich with ores essential to the Imperium. Though the people of Jalsk embraced the Imperial rule, they refused, steadfastly, to embrace Imperial life, instead opting to cling to their feudal living – of knights, courts, and castes. Embezzlement, personal enrichment and downright thievery was common-place shortly after Imperial establishment, and the tithes and taxes paid dwindled. At a cross road, the Adeptus Administratum installed a long-lost department of official spies – now known as the Hock Family Line – to keep a quiet eye on where these funds and resources went, and return them to Imperial coffers.
The Hock Family Line have bloody hands indeed.
Orlanno Hock is a spy of particular merit; he uncovered a pyramid-scheme of fraud and treachery that spanned virtually the entire Royal Court of Jalsk V. He was rewarded in kind by his department, and his skills duly noted as exceptional.
Darker clouds brewed above the stone cities of Jalsk V however; the proximity of Jalsk V to the Halo Stars made it a vulnerable place, susceptible to the whims of more powerful men. Orlanno uncovered a plot to usurp Imperial rule in the city and replace it with the synagogues of Chaos, tearing cobbled streets asunder and laying brick and mortar halls to ruin. A sinister cult, corrupted by the Blood God absolutely had festered in the underworld of Jalsk V. Although their plans never came to pass, Orlanno was appointed an honorary knighthood for preventing it, and was bestowed with an honorary plate of armor, with Adeptus Adminstratum seal emblazoned upon its breast.
Orlanno wrote his superiors the night of the ceremony – Jalsk V had gone too long as a simple outpost, providing wealth and support for the Imperium. It’s position was precarious, it’s people, easily corrupted. It needed a constant presence, an overt presence, a heavier hand than the invisible Administratum. Soon after, the Ecclesiarchy installed a faith-militant upon the planet and Orlanno Hock was relieved of his post.
Only to be re-assigned.
The Basque Sector is rife with the same corruption that Orlanno had so-far been combatting – only this time, it runs deeper and is barbed with the daggers of capable beings. A true test of skill awaited him, though as yet, he didn’t know it. Backed by the obscene wealth of the Administratum, Orlanno was able to infiltrate the high-borns and the nobility, integrating himself into their way of life, their intrigues and plots. Orlanno knew full well that the retired Lycene Bosporious, a former captain, was coming out of retirement. Orlanno had been invited to the ceremony at the Bosporious family chapel out of respect for his perceived position, despite having no direct dealings with the family. An ex-military captain, retired, now returns to serve upon an old, recommissioned battleship. He could hardly pass up such a grand occasion. And besides…
He’d caught a scent.