Sholk sighed as he nestled in to the silken cushions at the edge of the holo-projector. Luther had furnished him with an incredible amount of additional and unnecessary data along with the documents he requested. As Luther departed he impressed upon Sholk the importance of the dynasty returning to profitability as soon as possible. When the Atticus first asked him to improve the efficiency of the Havlock trade caravans, It should have been easy, especially now that the Orks would soon cease to be a trade barrier. He was happy to except the task, all he wanted was the tonnage of cargo to be taken on and deposited at each point of stoppage. He sipped a chilled glass of the divine water from Vaporius, the delicious liquid quickly soothed his stress. With his mind cleared and his purpose renewed he began scrolling through the reams of data, manifests, logs consumption tallies, production forecasts, and trade agreements. All of it terribly dull suddenly a single name caught his eye, Vaporius. He depressed the rune of viewing on the control slate and the holographic icon resolved itself into a series of documents laid out before him. Sholk mused for a few moments then called up the trade ledges to view the current movements of the caravan. The Emperors Hand would depart Port Wander with its holds filled with foodstuffs and clean water purchased as considerable costs. The first trade stop was always Foot Fall that filth encrusted labyrinth of void born structures floating in the punishing radiation of the immense star Furibundus here a small shipment of exotic luxury items would be purchased far from the pointless rules and needless taxes of the more ‘civilised’ ports. Next the Hand would sail to Vaporius. He reviewed the terms of trade between House Havlock and the city of Lah’ndan. In exchange for small quantities of exotic goods, luxury items and other baubles the Priest King would allow the Havlock trade envoys to depart with two hundred large copper urns of the blessed water. Its third stop would be high orbit above Dross, the ship would wait at that storm wracked planet until its three small rocky moons aligned singling the time for the clouds to be parted. The heavy landers would hurriedly descend with a large portion of the food and water along with shipments of firearms, crude sluggers, stubbers, and shotguns. All to fuel High Priestess Asira’s Jihad of planetary conquest. They would return, clouds closing behind them, with holds full of Scrap metal from the mass of wreaked ships that lay strewn across Dross's surface. The Emperors Hand would then travel to Zayth system. Once in orbit above that desolate war world the remainder of the food and water, along with the salvaged metals from Dross would be transferred into the holds of the Land ship Indestructible. In exchange the Iron brotherhood would supply a battery of their finely crafted Macro weapons that were now so highly sought-after across the entire sub-sector. Finally the Emperors Hand would head for the fledging colony of Havlock's Haven. The crew would take shore leave and some aid would be distributed to the colonists. Havelock's Haven was still a long way away from producing any food stuff in sufficient quantities to be profitable but Captain Havlock was planning to build an empire and it took time to build strong foundations.
Sholk new his duty was to see how Damaris was going to fit into the new trade routes, but he could not believe the terms of trade with Vaporius. He couldn’t shake the term “Glass beads for the heathens” from his mind. He couldn’t fathom that his noble captain would be willing to exploit the kindness of the Ansai the Priest-King of Lah’ndan. Sholk would make sure that this oversight was corrected and Ansai was correctly compensated for the divine water from the city of Lah’ndan. Poring over the tables of projected exportable goods that Luther provided, Sholk smiled. Damaris was blessed with numerous valuable resources. Vast stretches of the equatorial regions were utilised for agriculture and the production of foodstuffs. The seas teemed with edible creatures, highly in demand throughout the Expanse as well as the Calixis sector, and many valuable ores and precious gems were ensconced in the world’s ancient, wind-worn mountains. The planet also boasted a remarkably modern infrastructure including a strong mining industry capable of producing millions of tons of raw and refined ores for export. There was also a small but respected ship-building industry centred at the Bulwark. Sholk layed out the new trade routes, Damaris would export large quanties of ores, foodstuffs, livestock, and ship components. Theses would be shipped to Foot Fall so they could be distributed for a handsome profit. In exchange Damaris would receive luxuries, vehicles, construction materials, and durable manufactured goods from the greater Imperium. The terms of the trade agreement insured that all trade that Damaris conducted with parties other than House Havlock would be subject to heavy levies and tariffs on any products imported or exported.
Sholk turned his attention to the Vaporius agreement and thought about the value of the water that the Priest-King Ansai so generously provided. He stared at the clear liquid swirling out of the crystal decanter as he poured himself another healthy glass. This substance had raised his clan of Navigators out of obscurity and insured not only the house's survival but a chance to surpass its former glory. Already Sholk had several Homozygous cousins that were now serving with respected shipping institutions including the Imperial Navy and Adeptus Mechanicus. He had also been informed that overtones of reacceptance to the Navis Nobilite have been made and negoiations for new reproduction treaties were progressing well. Yes as the fortunes of his family rose so to did the profits supplied to The Havlock dynasty. Yes Ansai must be richly compensated for the opportunity that his water had provided. In exchange for the copper vessels of water, the city coffers of Lah’ndan would now be buoyed with ingots of precious metals, jewellery crafted from fine gems, and Throne Gelt. Sholk also wanted to be sure that Priest-King understood Captans Havlock's personal appreciation. Ansai's court would now be dressed in the finest silks, served by the most beautiful domestic slaves, fed the rarest spices and finest wines. The extra costs would be astronomical but Sholk new it was still a good deal, he stared into the now empty glass, his mind free of burden.
This blissful feeling was worth anything.... No everything!