"five...four...three...two...one... Gateway opening" The view screen filled with a blinding flash and in an instant the Ides Of March tore a rift in reality and returned to the nightmare sanctuary know as the Imperium Of Man. Madam Bella had navigated the Ides Of March for a little under three months to the edge of the Soulle system, my home. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that Navigator's words had not proven true. I checked the ships' long range scanners noting the large amounts of traffic farther in system.
As it should be considering the time of year, I thought pleased with myself. Trade merchants came from around the entire sector to purchase from the great grox herds that were so highly prized on Soulle. Without the millions strong herds Soulle raised dozens of hive worlds, including Soulle's three moons Clothos, Lachesis, and Atropos, would starve. I'd counted on the traffic to help us blend in. Earlier in the voyage I convinced Isilia to lend me the Rosette so that I could modify the ships log and IFF codes. After all you can't just go running around in a stolen inquisitors' ship and expect nothing to happen. As far as the records were concerned we were just another merchant ship looking to purchase a fraction of the world's stock.
Of course the first thing I was going to do upon arriving on Soulle was go home, from there I'd work things out. Isilia had insisted that she accompany me, Arbites be damned, and try as I might I could not dissuade her. Despite becoming intimate with one another she still displayed the same qualities towards me as when I first met her. Sometimes I wondered if her attempting to beat the shit out of me was just a fetish or an animal instinct much like alpha males among grox. I of course would never actually present that little query to her, I don't think she would have too many qualms killing me even now. I was a little concerned about what to do with her. I had no intention of ever leaving Soulle again, and I couldn't really imagine her staying with me. Thoughts of mass murders and the like just kept creeping into my mind. I pushed the thought aside as I sent a communique to the space port asking for clearance to dock. A few minutes later the console pined and my request had been granted.
By the throne it felt good to the Captain of a ship, or second depending on who you asked. Before I left I managed to secure the future services of Bella by promising her a wealthy retirement just as soon as I'd returned home. She knew I was lying and said so but agreed regardless stating the Inquisition would kill her or worse for if they ever found out she'd aided me. Hearing her say that made me feel like a twinge of guilt, I had after all cast aside a number of beliefs to be with Isilia. Not my belief in the Emperor of course. I had during the latter stages of our journey tried to share my religion with Isilia but that resulted in degenerated into another of our bloody conflicts when I called her a blasphemer and...it wasn't pretty. I still say 2-1 is pretty good.
Before we made planet fall I found Isilia a cover for her ears. If anyone asked about her I'd say she was from off-world, which technically wasn't a lie, and in my travels I'd seen humans who looked more alien then Isilia ever could. Besides most of the population of Mamensk wouldn't recognize a Xeno unless an Ork jumped in front of them and let out a huge saliva spewing WAAAGHHH! And even then there might be some confusion.
The story we decided to stick to was that she was a swords woman from Carthage. A world Isilia had fought on that was apparently populated by gigantic man raping women. When I told I might like to visit that place she gave me a glare of pure evil. I've since taken precautions, mostly unsuccessfully, to not make her jealous. There was a large wardrobe that she could have selected from in the Captains' quarters but she chose to wear the torn, acid damaged fatigues she'd worn since I first met her. I did however convince her to wear a large hooded coat. The cover she wore already concealed her ears but it would be cold and I didn't want her to be uncomfortable on her first visit to my home. There were a few items of clothing that I would have preferred to wear besides my own similarly tattered fatigues but I decided I'd wear them one last time. Unlike Isilia I eschewed the heavy coat instead wearing the proud colors of the 74th bare.
We took the Stormbird still in the bay, and descended towards the city of Mamensk, my home. When we reached the city I stowed the Stormbird at the MWI air station. It was a few miles from the station to my home but I thought that walking might be a good way to familiarize Isilia with the layout of the city. And give me time to think of a way to explain her to my mother.
We left the station and ventured out into the city. It was a beautiful day. Light gray clouds covered the sky from one horizon to the next and flurries of snow came down and coated the city. I took her West on Blooms St. and followed it down the Kigan river, so named after some famous historian, ironically the history eludes me. As we made our way I pointed out several of the landmarks, none of which really impressed her but she did me the courtesy of humoring me. It was a little odd. When we reached the intersection between Bloom and Holloway we took a right and headed down through the market district.
"This is where you can buy pretty much anything food, jewelry, furniture, clothing, anything really you just have to know where to look." "A Krasyl'un'il?" She asked, referencing to some unknown alien device, food, something. "Well...maybe. What is it?" I replied.
"It's a little device that separates skin from the body so that you can peel- she stopped as I stared up at her in shock and she gave me a smile that told me I was an idiot. We walked through the winding district for another fifteen minutes while I pointed out the various shops, some of which I'd gone to when I was still a child. When we'd made it to the other end of the district I hooked another right onto Causeway before I stopped.
"That wasn't there before." I said as I gazed upon the Arbites apparently new headquarters. Two dozen Arbites stood outside their HQ gearing up for a raid or patrol in a trio of Rhino troop transports. In all my time I'd never seen so many before, I wondered if something had happened while I was away. "Problem?" She asked. I shook my head and we kept going. We passed without incident and in a few moments I'd forgotten the entire scene as I lost myself in nostalgia.
After a few more twists and turns we finally came to the edge of the market district on Nova St. I looked around a bit until I spotted a store with a sign hanging above that stated in big red letters : Addicus' Antiques.