Livestock and Victual Mass Conveyance Provender Bountiful Beast, to give it its proper title, or the Reek as it has been known for centuries, has since the Calixis Sector’s founding plied the cold void carrying a cargo of live flesh and dead meat to assuage the hunger of the masses. A vast patchwork relic of ancient days, the Bountiful Beast rivals the largest warships in size and takes the form of an irregular fat cylinder nearly sixteen kilometers long from stem to stern; its hull is heat-blackened and corroded, pitted with ancient scars and haloed with debris and vented vapor mist that shrouds its passage.
The Bountiful Beast’s origins are lost to antiquity, but it seems certain it first came to the nascent sector as part of the forces of the Angevin Crusade as a long-range supply vessel, though the ship’s prior history no doubts predates this by at least several millennia and perhaps longer. In the aftermath of the crusade’s success it seems the ship’s master became one of the earliest Chartist Captains, and this independence and license has never been given up by any of the D’Rais family line since.
The Bountiful Beast follows an erratic path around the fringes and backwaters of the Calixis sector from the Periphery to the edges of the Threnos Zone. Garnering livestock for transport and meat for rendering at feral and feudal worlds in return for manufactured goods, before transporting its processed cargo to isolated mining colonies and frontier planets, the Bountiful Beast’s appearance can mean the difference between starvation and plenty for the inhabitants. But to the other Chartist captains and the void born it is a bloody and ill-omened thing.
The Bountiful Beast is no silent, steel coffin sailing the darkness; it is a mobile, steaming, bustling, stench-ridden and blood soaked industry unto itself. At once a cattle-wagon, breeding pen, abattoir and freighter, it is crewed by thousands of victualers, cooks, coldbloods, slaughtermen, beast-handlers and skinners in addition to the thousands of ratings and crewman needed to run a starship of this size, and they in turn are dwarfed in numbers by the potential tens of thousands of creatures, live or dead, in the Bountiful Beast’s holds. As with most large interstellar vessels, many of those who serve aboard are void born, or more accurately darkholders, a particularly notorious strain of the type and likely the latest generation of their families in an unbroken chain down the centuries on this single ship. In the Bountiful Beast’s case many more of its crew are taken on during its many stops as volunteers and hired muscle.
The ship’s industries are arduous and ceaseless, and it has a rapacious desire for new blood, so it is that each time the Bountiful Beast makes port it has need for scores of new crew members; losses caused by desertions are one culprit, and a great many die onboard either through accident, brawling or factional fighting. Many more simply disappear midvoyage.
More than enough tales of its vast slaughter-chambers, lakes of rendered fat, and red-dewed corridors have been spoken by those that have left this iron abattoir to have painted pictures as close to hell as any could wish for to those that listen to the tales told in star ports and way stations across the sector.