Heyzayl was sitting with her back to the wall when the Webway portal activated. Her hand slid down to the butt of her pistol as a hundred stars danced in a the mirror-glare of the active portal and she shifted slightly so her feet touched the ground. In the time it would take to blink she could be airborne and firing.
There were other of the Dark Kin in the chamber. This area was theoretically neutral ground and that had never been seriously broken, but there was always a first time. For those that thought of themselves as the True Eldar nothing was taboo, except violating the Laws of Vect and those only counted if you got caught. One day even the great tyrant would fall or so every archon believed in the dark places that passed for their hearts.
Two kabalite warriors emerged from the portal. They were males, one armed with a splinter rifle and wearing well worn armour, the other carrying a shardcarbine and wearing a new harness. Their armour was typical of their kind, a bodysuit with hooks and barbs that pierced and stimulated the nerves of its wearer which had the intent of sharpening the reaction time, senses, and murder-lust of the pain dependent Dark Eldar. Segmented plates of light armour protected were attached the suit, protecting the wearer from light weapons. The elongated helmets housed sophisticated communication and targeting sensors which were Eldar's primary means of defense. See the target. Cripple and kill it. Evade counter attacks. Armour plate came last and least. Both of them bore a fresh rune marking on the upper left pectoral plate of their armour, a stylized inverted double S shape. It took a moment for Heyzayl to recognized it as a stylized dragon head and throat. She did not know this kabal. A promising sign.
A signal must have been sent because more kabalite warriors began to stream through the portal. They were mostly armed with splinter rifles and a variety of vicious, poisoned blades that passed as normal armaments among the soldiers of the kabals and the higher class of mercenary killer that aspired to join their ranks. Then came the incubi.
There were four of them in the great horned helms and elaborate and heavy segmented armour. They were as quiet as cats despite the weight of their warsuits and disturbingly, just as agile as their kabalite brethren, a product of unrelenting training in their demanding warrior discipline and the exotic materials that went into forging their armour.
Last came another Incubus, probably the klaivex, and male warrior wearing midnight blue ghostplate. The later was festooned with weapons, including an incubi's klaive. Like the others, he was marked with a fresh dragon-rune the colour of blood. It had to be him.
Heyzayl stood up and pushed the chair back. There were two other small groups of Eldar in the room and they were clearly keeping a wary eye on the strangers. "Mighty dracon," Heyzayl began, "perhaps I may be of service to you if this is your first visit to this trading post. For a modest fee I can handle the unpleasant details of finding and contacting the subcreatures that would best-"
Vyljen raised his hand to silence her. "Are you Heyzayl?"
She smirked and bowed. "Indeed I am, mighty dracon. I am pleased my reputation has reached your ears."
"It's said that you're even better than Beruda was."
"I am. He made the Mon-keigh jumpy. It was poor for business."
"And business is what matters."
"For me and those who use my services, yes mighty dracon. Other matters are not my concern and I stay clear of them."
"I need a human with a ship who wishes to become very rich."
Heyzayl threw back her head and laughed. It was not the cruel laugh of a torturer to her victim or a huntress who has cornered her prey, but the rich and full throated sound founded in joy. "Mighty dracon, you've come to the right place. Why don't you tell me any other requirement you might desire. It'll help narrow down the list."
Adrianna Mei-Lung frowned as the heretics inspected the lascannon. She was the kind of woman that might be described as matronly. Rejuv had begun to reach its limits and her job involved too much sitting and reading reports for her not to layer fat over muscle. Still, she was if not quite fit not far from it either. Cosmetics hid the lines around her eyes and mouth and dyes took care of her hair while her tailors worked their magic on the rest of her appearance. Currently she sported the image of a woman with an elaborate coiffure of platinum blond hair wearing a stark and severe suit consisting of a black waistcoast and overcoat over a dark blouse and pants. She was, in just about anyone's opinion, far more attractive than her potential clients.
The tech-menials were small men in loose coveralls with shaved heads and disquieting tattoos. The four warrior bodyguards were huge slabs of crudely augmented muscle hidden behind armour plate and rebreather masks. They carried massive autoshotguns, large bore pistols, and heavy chain weapons in the defense of their master, a thin man who was over two meters tall and swaddled in a heavy reddish-black robe. His limbs were too feeble to support his body in full gravity and he wore an exoskeleton walker to move around that whined with every step.
"Thisss weapon," he hissed in his appallingly accented Low Gothic, "iss ssame as Imperial Guard usse yess?" His long fingers caressed the two meter long barrel of the bipod supported lascannon laying in the Venture's cargo hold amongst other samples of the ship's wares.
"Yes," replied Adrianna. "Mark VII Solipek Pattern lascannon, widely used by the Imperial Guard and Planetary Defence Forces in three sectors. Uses half kilo disposable power cell good for a single shot or plugged into a larger power source like the backpack set up we have here. Two or three man crew for the man portable version, one man carrying the weapon and the other the power source. Easily set up in under a minute."
"Yess," said the heretic. "Will destroy Ork battlewagons, yess?"
"Chimerass, Leman Russesss."
"Yes," Adrianna replied uncomfortably. Damned heretics. There were certain Imperial goods that sold well at Davin's Folly. One were the luxuries from human space that were harder to get on the frontier. Good food and wine, appliances, fine clothes and furniture, silks and so forth. Medicines, medical equipment, drugs, augmentics, and other potentially life saving products of high tech industry were another. Reliable and effective weapons that were easy to maintain but difficult to manufacture was a third.
The Ecketari occupied a handful of star systems outside Imperial space and had previously been the target of a concerted campaign of conquest by an ambitious Rogue Trader. As heretics who did not worship the God-Emperor it was only a matter of time before someone else tried again. Add to that the various pirates, chaos reavers, and xenos and they didn't live in the safest part of space. The orbital elite possessed some high technology, but they were hungry for more and most of all they wanted weapons. It wasn't quite selling weapons to the enemies of the Imperium, but it was far too close to it for Adrianna's taste. With a little luck they would get eaten by a Waagh or converted by missionaries and cease to be a problem. But not until after they paid up, of course.
"Over here we have Solipek Pattern assault lascarbines good for close quarters and mid-"
"Unintressted," hissed the heretic. "Hard slug weaponss are sufficient in ssuch a role. These lasscannonss, space ship mountable yess? Defense turretss, guncuttersss, fightersss, bombersss."
Adrianna hid her irritation. "Yes. They can easily be mounted on a vehicle and fed from the power plant. A simple plug in allows contact with vehicles machine spirit, the lascannons' themselves possess a simple and biddable spirit."
The heretic snickered and then said. "Excellent. You have many of these?"
"Yes. You might also be interest in the Solipek Suppressor Pattern Multilaser. It isn't as hard hitting, but much more power efficient and possess a high rate of fire."
"Full auto vehicle lasss? Yesss, we are interessted."
One of her junior agents came up behind the heretics. He was handsome, smart as a whip, and young. Throne, to be that age again, too young and inexperienced to understand how little you actually knew. Giving the heretics a wide berth he approached her and bowed. "My lady, I regret disturbing you but there is a matter of some urgency."
She nodded and smiled sweetly and insincerely at the heretics. "Excuse me gentlemen, but duty calls. My assistants will be happy to answer your questions and show you all our wears, including live fire demonstrations. I will return shortly to finalize any details."
Nevbor lead her out of the cargo hold. "This had better be good."
"It's an Eldar. Heyzayl, the broker."
"What's she want with us? We don't carry any cargo any Eldar would want."
"To make a deal with the captain."
The Excellent Prismatic Spray. For when you absolutely, positively must kill a motherfucker. Accept no substitutions. Contact a magician of the later Aeons for details. Some conditions may apply.Librium Arcana