You ponder Hagrdict’s discovery as you put your power armor back on. Nova-class frigates are used exclusively by the Space Marines, while the Imperial Navy uses the Firestorm-class frigate. Both the nova and firestorm classes are design evolutions from existing classes of frigate: the Nova from the Gladius and the Firestorm from the Sword. Gladius- and Sword-class ships have been in service since the dawn of the Imperium of Man, and perhaps a bit before that.
So you are not quite sure about poking about on the Khamsin. On one hand it is worth more than a gold mine to a scholar like Hagrdict, and the possibility of recovering a Standard Template Construct (STC) would vault you into the ranks of vaunted heroes. The combat knives that rest on Losis’, Gorlin’s, and your belt are of a STC design for a fractal-edged weapon, far superior to previous patterns. Persistent rumor has it that the two guardsmen who recovered the design were each granted ownership of a pleasure-moon for their efforts.
On the other hand, the Khamsin has been drifting in the warp for at least a thousand years, most if not all of that time exposed to the raw corrupting effects of the warp. The Emperor alone knows what could come of that, and if he does know, he hasn’t shared that knowledge with you.
You shake your head, clearing it of your worries. Your experience as a scout-sergeant already tells you what you need to do in this situation anyway: the most trusted source of reconnaissance information for a Space Marine is another Space Marine. As a scout-sergeant, it was your job to get that information. Your task here is no different: the Khamsin contains an unknown number of unknown factors, and your kill-team is in position to search for them.
Hagrdict eagerly leads the way, his familiarity with Imperial ship designs combining with his scholar’s drive for knowledge to pull him to the fore. Gorlin isn’t exactly happy with not being on point, but he puts up with it for the moment. You direct Hagrdict to lead the way to the barracks compartments, where the single resident squad of space marines would have lived while aboard the Khamsin.
The Khamsin wasn’t refit to anything resembling the typical nova-class. Nor does her deck plan match up with that of a gladius-class from which she may have been converted. Gorlin takes point once more as Hagrdict searches his memory for any other Imperial frigate’s deck plan that remotely matches that of the Khamsin. While he does so, you point Gorlin towards where the officer’s quarters should be.
It takes nearly an hour longer to get there then it would aboard any other Gladius- or Nova-class you have been on before, and Hagrdict is grumbling the entire way about severely non-standard deck arrangements, and the utter absence of anything remotely resembling the facilities needed to maintain a squad of space marines. You find yourself in agreement with him, more than a little wary at the total absence of sparring halls, shrines, armory, refectory, gymnasiums, or anything else you associate with the long-term presence of space marines.
As your kill-team draws closer to the bridge, you begin to notice more and more unusual iconography. Trios of triangles, arrayed in horizontal lines. Sunbursts, with four flames protruding in the cardinal directions. Swords, straight for perhaps a third of their length before curving into an imitation of an ax’s smile.
The bridge itself proves to be ordinary enough in form and function. What is extraordinary is the craftsmanship lavished upon the dust-shrouded workstations. Brass and electrum outline screens, limestone sculptures sit in small embrasures, ivory inlays grace controll lecterns.
Hagrdict stands next to the commander’s throne, his helmeted head turning to take in each detail in turn, “truly this is a bridge of antiquity, from which men have commanded since the God-Emperor first set foot on Terra.”
Losis is still warily watching the entrance to the bridge, “if this is a Space Marine ship, then where are the Space Marines? And what chapter uses this sort of iconography?”
You look about, searching for answers to questions you don’t understand. “I do not recognise any of it…”
Gorlin is staring at the armored hatch to the navigator’s vestibule, “Frgh. Flaming bird symbol here. Anyone recognise what navigator house that belongs to?” He steps closer to swipe the dust away and get a clearer look.
When he does so the hatch slides soundlessly open, revealing the navigator’s vestibule. Gorlin already has his bolt pistol in hand and tracking across the room. No threat oozes out of the shadows to present itself, and the lights sputter top life as he steps forward into the vestibule.
“Frgh. Found the Space Marine quarters.”
Hagrdict shakes his head in denial, “That is the Navigator’s vestibule. Where else would such a sanctioned abomination guide the Khamsin from?”
“Lrgh. Looking at a full set of maximus-pattern power armor here, power sword, bolt pistol, bed. Two more hatches, standing open. One looks like it leads to a small gymnasium, the other to a sparring circle, complete with servitor-run sparring apparatus. Everything a Space Marine would need.”
Losis flexes one pauldron in a half-shrug, “perhaps only a single Space Marine was stationed aboard, instead of a squad? What colors is the armor painted in?”
“Rrgh. Dusty sort of red. Brassy helmet, white trim. Flaming bird and four-pointed sunburst on the shoulders. Blue trim on the left pauldron.”
“Librarian then. Would explain the location of the quarters at least.”
Hagrdict’s hands are clenching and unclenching rhythmically on the stock of his bolter, “we should leave it here. The relics are obviously tainted by the Warp, and no good can ever come of taking them with us.”
Losis shakes his head, and you get the impression that he would spit on the deck if he wasn’t wearing a helmet. “We can not afford not recovering the relics. ZTO may be able to field-repair our armor, but Marcellus’ warplate is mark four, not mark six, seven, or eight. The parts for his power armor just aren’t interchangeable with the ones for ours, and ZTO does not have any more spares. Which means that any hit could leave Marcellus out of the fight for weeks.”
“Rrgh. You both have sharp points. The Warp is nothing to rut about with, but we could definitely make use of any spare parts or relics we find. What is you decision Hunter?”