Terra In Excelsis



Approximately every 17 years, Big Brother and Little Brother approach conjunction, forming a line from Rubycon II along both planets and Port Wander itself. During this time, the Rubycon II asteroid belt is relatively quiescent, the competing gravity wells forming a temporary Lagrange point of stability. When this happens, salvagers, adventurers, pirates, and madmen scramble to make the most of the window of opportunity, flying into the field in search of wealth and glory.

The prize they seek is the wreck of the Terra In Excelsis, a Hazeroth-class vessel lost decades before for reasons unknown. After her arrival in the Rubycon II system, inbound to Port Wander, she simply went dead, responding to neither vox nor astropathic communication, then drifted inexorably into the asteroid belt. Asteroid miners and other brave souls occasionally report seeing the shattered hulk of the ship, holed by asteroid strikes, appearing and disappearing again into the ever-moving chaos of the belt. Some claim that she seems to be mocking them, rising from above the plane of the ecliptic for just a moment, then sinking again out of sight.

Her last verified port of call was the Sunerisle colony, discovered in 743.M41, and from which her captain, Omar ben Judahra, was said to have recovered a relic with worth beyond reckoning. Here, sadly, the tale becomes confused and accounts differ. One version holds that Sunerisle was the last resting place of a lost Primarch, and that the Terra In Excelsis holds his corpse within its cavernous halls. Others tell of a xenos relic of unbelievable power. Still more believe that a map pinpointing the location of a Standard Construction Template has been stored in the ship’s archive. In any case, every Rubycon Conjunction, swarms of small vessels ply the belt in search of the missing ship. While drunken voidfarers are prone to tall tales of the “ghost ship of Rubycon,” none claim to have docked with the vessel and survived. The sole exception, to those in the know, are the traders and renegades of the Beast House. Each Conjunction they dispatch a small vessel to the belt, carrying a squad of hardened killers, the best-trained and best-equipped mercenaries money can buy. Each Conjunction, this vessel returns, most of the mercenaries on board dead, but its hold filled with a cargo so dangerous and so valuable Inquisitors have been murdered to keep it safe.

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Terra In Excelsis

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