Blackened Streets & Darkened Skies: Dark Heresy

Caliber Rehn-Justies: Beginnings

Caliber was born on Hive Tarsus to Hadrian and Sylpha Rhen. His parents were poor factory workers who were able to make ends meet, but were not earning much more than that. Shortly after Caliber’s first birthday, his father volunteered for The Imperial Guard and was shipped out to one of the Emperor’s wars. It was hoped that he would advance in rank and that this would lead to a better life for his family. Those hopes died with Hadrian in his battle after landing on a distant war torn planet.

Sylpha’s income at the factory was not enough to pay for all their costs of living, so she was required to supplement her income with petty theft. She was caught committing her crimes on three occasions. The first two times, she explained to the arbiters that she was a single mother because her husband had died as a war hero. She used that argument and her graceful beauty to convince the court to grant her leniency. Unfortunately, there was a colony ship in orbit the third time she was caught. The court had become impatient with Sylpha’s criminal behavior and bored with her feminine wiles. The court sentenced her and her son to exile. She and Caliber were transported up to the colony ship Light of Exploration for relocation to an unnamed colony world.

Sylpha knew that she faced certain death if she tried to raise 3 year old Caliber by herself on a savage world. So Sylpha began looking for a new husband and attracted the interest of Marcel Justies, one of the ship’s enforcers. He married her and moved his new family into his quarters, saving Sylpha and Caliber from the horrors of colonization faced by the rest of the unfortunate pioneers.

Sylpha knew that she and Caliber had to keep Marcel happy and content. If he divorced Sylpha, she and her son would be settled on the next colony planet. Sylpha was a perfect dutiful wife. Young Caliber changed his last name to Rhen-Justies shortly after the marriage to show his love and appreciation for his new stepfather.

Marcel arranged for Sylpha to get a secretary job in the Office of Captain’s Adeptus Arbites, and he also had Caliber enrolled in acolyte training so that he could become an enforcer like himself.

In addition to finding work for his wife and arranging training for his stepson, Marcel treated Sylpha and Caliber well at home. He only beat them when he was drunk, and he was very discreet with his extra-marital trysts.

Caliber completed his training and became one of the ship’s enforcers. He was a common sight to the colonists because he would take extra shifts. Mainly, he took the extra shifts to earn extra thrones. But in addition, Marcel seemed happier if Caliber was not at home. As Caliber grew in size, strength and combat ability, Marcel grew more uncomfortable in his presence. Since Caliber loved his stepfather, Caliber gave Marcel as much time alone as he desired. Caliber was well known to all of the guardsmen. His extra shifts resulted in Caliber getting the opportunity to work with every single enforcer on board. Eventually, even the captain of the ship was scheduled to share duties with Caliber.

Captain Janos Greconno spent several evenings speaking to the young man and was quite impressed with him. As they got to know each other better, Caliber talked about his family and the captain talked about his wife. Caliber learned that Janos Greconno had a married life not so dissimilar from his mother’s. Mrs. Greconno also enjoyed her alcohol and often made bad choices when her judgment was impaired. Sadly, she was not very discreet, and stories would reach the captain’s ear about her and a man she was seeing. This of course angered Greconno greatly. But, Caliber discovered that he could improve the captain’s mood simply by talking about himself and his plans for the future.

One evening, when Greconno returned to his quarters, he found his wife dead. All deaths of ship personnel had to be investigated, so the captain immediately called the Office of Captain’s Adeptus Arbites. Sylpha received the call and assigned the investigation to Caliber. When Caliber arrived, he found the body of Mrs. Greconno lying on a couch. On the coffee table in front of her, there was a tea setting, a suicide note and an empty box of potassium cyanide. Caliber’s forensic investigation found the poison in her teacup and verified that it was the poison that killed her.

When Caliber presented his findings to the court, he testified that the suicide note was written in Mrs. Greconno’s handwriting. He submitted the forensic results and also included financial records showing that Mrs. Greconno had purchased the poison at the ship’s last port of call. The strong evidence and testimony led the court to conclude that Mrs. Greconno had indeed committed suicide. Captain Greconno was very appreciative of Caliber’s work to reveal the truth.

Within a month, tragedy also befell Sylpha and Caliber. It happened on one of those rare evenings when Sylpha scheduled Caliber and Marcel to work on patrol together. When they were touring the upper decks of the colonist cell blocks, Marcel fell to his death.

Caliber’s official report stated that Marcel was feeling ill and needed to take a break. The report said that Marcel leaned on the railing with both hands, and the railing snapped from the support posts at each end. It described that Marcel was caught off-balance, and fell over the side, to the lowest deck 200 meters below.

When investigators arrived on the scene, they discovered that the maintenance crews had been extraordinarily lax in their duties. In addition to the faulty railing, all security cameras in that area were non-functioning. However, several colonists witnessed the accident. Captain Janos Greconno encouraged them to cooperate with the Adeptus Arbites, and several submitted official testimony that Caliber’s story was complete and correct. The captain was pleased that the colonist’s assisted the investigation, and he made sure that they received additional pioneering equipment when they were settled at their new homes. Caliber was very appreciative of the captain’s assistance in revealing the truth.

Caliber stopped taking additional patrol shifts so that he could spend more time with his grieving mother. Captain Janos Greconno also took to spending time with Sylpha. Captain Geconno and Sylpha found that since they both had lost loved ones that they were uniquely able to comfort each other. Love bloomed between the two of them, and one month after Marcel’s death, they were wed.

Shortly after his mother’s third wedding, Captain Greconno arranged to have Caliber transferred to another colony ship called The Hope in the Darkness. Captain Greconno promised that Caliber would have a better life aboard The Hope than he could have aboard The Light.

At first, Caliber’s new life aboard The Hope was very similar to his life on The Light. He got along well with Captain Tiberius Maceadon and the rest of the crew. But it was not long before he noticed that on occasion, settlers would end up missing. Investigators on The Hope determined that the missing individuals got into altercations with their fellow settlers and wound up getting shoved out an airlock. Caliber thought that was odd because the missing people tended to be men and women of higher social status. He thought that they would have been able to settle differences peacefully. Caliber began to quietly investigate the instances himself and quickly determined that the evidence provided by the investigation teams was falsified. His investigation intensified when he learn that the man he replaced had also disappeared mysteriously. Eventually, Caliber learned the truth. The captain and senior officers were heretics that were offering human sacrifices to the daemons of the void. Caliber knew that he was in danger because he could be the next offering on the captain’s bloody altar. He continued to collect evidence and compiled a secret report on the heretical activities of his new ship.

Eventually The Hope in the Darkness made port at a planet where an inquisition was underway. Caliber made some discreet inquiries, and arranged a meeting with a woman on the inquisitor’s staff. Her name was Kira Van Eisen, and she was very interested in the report that Caliber turned over to her. When they parted, Kira stated that they would meet soon.

Soon was the evening of the next day. The inquisitor herself, Lady Esailla Kane, informed Captain Maceadon that she was arriving to inspect the ship. She claimed that she was going to commandeer the ship to transport heretics to Scintilla for special interrogation. When she arrived with her entire staff, Captain Maceadon personally lead her and her people on a tour of his ship. But The Lady’s claim for visiting the ship was a ruse. In reality, Lady Kane arranged the tour so as to position her people in strategic locations. When they reached the engineering section, Lady Esailla’s people sprang into action and forcibly took control of the ship. Then Lady Esailla explained to the captain that he and his entire crew were going to face charges of heresy.

Caliber faced inquisition too. The Lady’s psychers determined that Caliber was not a heretic. As they delved into his mind, they discovered that he had a capacity for unusually high loyalty to those he cared about. They informed Lady Esailla of this and explained that a minor adjustment to Caliber’s psyche would create such feelings of loyalty to her. She knew that Caliber would never find a starship captain willing to take him on board. And she felt that Caliber would be a useful member of her team. So she ordered the adjustment.

Caliber now loves Lady Esailla in the same way that he used to love his mother. He cares for her happiness and well being. And he will do anything in his power to aid her and protect her.

Anything.

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