Attempts to be sneaky around the Orkish raider were less than successful, and The Emperor’s Horn once again found itself in a skirmish. Tensions were initially high, but some outlandishly well-placed hits from Vorgen soon made it clear that the Horn would gain the upper hand. Crippling strikes were laid upon the raider’s systems, eventually turning the opposing vessel into a drifting box of agony and suffocating death (or, in Datcher’s eyes, a giant piggy bank to tow back to the collection).
Following the battle, the team hailed Cobolt, whose crew had had time to comb the remnants of the Toothkicker. She reported evidence that the now-depressurized Captain Bolger had been under the employ of the Tutors, who operate out of the Red Schola on Footfall. Ruthless slavers who are known to “customize” their captures for buyers’ various purposes, the Tutors no doubt had intentions for the people of Grace Prime and would surely take word of their failure jovially.
Cobolt also noted that the Toothkicker had detected the presence of another ship; one that the Horn had discovered as well. A decision to seek out this vessel led to the boarding of the Widening Gyre, a former transport and hydroponics ship of Lady Chorda’s fleet. The crew had a gnawing wariness as they explored its halls. Perhaps it was the eerie silence occasionally broken by sounds of etheral footsteps or laughter. Perhaps it was the detection of vile warp energy slowly leaking from a damaged warp core. Or probably it was the remains of the crew flopped about the decks after what appeared to be a mass festival of self-inflicted target practice. The troubling environment seemed to have a vague effect on both Vorgen and Captain Grinalt, the former clearly expressing a desire to destroy the warp core while the latter suggested not to. The pros and cons were weighed, with Thanin in a surprisingly non-eager mood to experiment with unknown energies, and it was ultimately decided to leave the ship be for now and merely abscond with its map showing the Dagger of Fate’s emergency orbit.
The map turned out to be just the thing for finding the space station, but it was soon discovered Orks had already found it long ago. A plan was hatched to attack the station’s guns with the Horn, providing a distraction for a crew on a gun cutter to slip in and find Chorda’s precious container. And hopefully they wouldn’t blow the station to smithereens with those brave crewmembers still on board…