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The Higher Call [DH] Episode III: Under the Hammer

The Higher Call Play-by-Post PBP Dark Heresy Commissar Molotov roleplay inquisition

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#1
Commissar Molotov

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Contents

  • Episode I: De Profundis [LINK]

  • Episode II: Truth and Consequence [LINK]

  • Episode III: Under the Hammer [LINK]

Other Threads

  • Out-of-Character Thread (For players and spectators) [LINK]

  • Folio Thread (For Players) [LINK]

 

Posting Guidance

  • When posting, try to write in a style consistent with the rest of the game. Your posts should be written in third person, and in the past tense. 

  • Be considerate when using other players' characters - in an ideal world, try to coordinate via PM or in the OOC thread. 


Edited by Commissar Molotov, 19 May 2016 - 03:51 PM.

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THCsig_zpsr7llkfne.jpg
 
QUOTE (voi shet magir @ May 31 2011, 05:38 AM) 
That is an unexpectedly strong assertion from a dead person.

#2
Commissar Molotov

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Episode III: Under the Hammer

 

 

Hive Praxis, Hyades

c.502911.M41

 

Yunxian, Munny, Reeve, Haygarth, Maraxus:

 

Service in the Imperial Inquisition has not been as you might have imagined it to be. 

 

Removed from your past lives, you have been incarcerated and subjected to seemingly endless questions and interrogations. Forced to engage in bizarre and mind-numbingly repetitive tasks for hours on end, you have been tested and measured against criteria that you could not begin to understand. Robed seers peered into horologic decks and imparted you with words of great import that hung heavily in incense-filled air. Their prophecies have weighed heavily on you in the days since. 

 

Your questioners have pried into your background, teased at your sanity and torn apart your life, looking for any suggestion that you might in some way be unsuitable. 

 

It appears that you have been accepted. Without ceremony, you were taken to the mid-levels of the Praxian hive and installed into an anonymous hab-hostel under a false name. Hidden in plain sight, amongst the teeming billions of the hive city, you were told to await a summons. 

 

Alone, you have been left to your own devices in these less-than-salubrious surroundings. You have had little to do but to reflect on your experiences and the events that have lead you to this place. You may even have begun to question the wisdom of this endeavour - or if it even really happened. Above all, you have waited restlessly for some contact from your new Mistress. 

 

That contact has finally been made. Last night, a blank-eyed courier arrived at your lodgings before thrusting a parchment into your hands and disappearing. You were left to examine the document, which bore the waxen seal of your Mistress. The message contained within was terse and perfunctory; you were provided a time, a date and a location. You are told only to "come prepared and expect company." The instructions are signed off with a simple phrase: "The Emperor Protects." Along with the parchment is a small silver-metal pin-badge, about two inches long. The badge is of a downward-pointing dagger impaling a rose. Barbed vines twist around its blade. If you were to study the dagger's handle, you might perhaps imagine that you see the thrice-barred sigil of the Inquisition - a symbol which is still powerful enough to make you shiver somewhat. 

 

The rendezvous is in a scant few hours. You will have to prepare and leave quickly in order to make it in time. 

 

++GM: You now have the opportunity to introduce us to your character. In this, your introductory post, you can describe how you have spent the last weeks since your initiation and how you feel about your summons and service in the Inquisition. For some of you this might be a righteous call to duty, an opportunity to go far and see something new, the first step on the road to glory, or just a chance to survive. 

 

Regardless of how trepidacious you are, you must leave your lodgings, and this post provides you with the opportunity to describe the process of packing your belongings and getting ready for the rendezvous. 

 

As of now, your adventure is afoot! You have heeded the higher call, and taken the first step on a long road. Quite where it ends up will be down to you!++

 

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 
Stroud, Astelan, Zarkov:
 
Service in the Imperial Inquisition has not been as you might have imagined it to be. 

The chronometers and calendars confirm that it has been six Terran months since you were brought together in the frozen mortuary chamber of the House of Forgotten Saints; since you were shown the mutilated boy of a hive-prole and tasked with investigating the depravity at the very roots of this hive. In truth, it seems far longer. 
 
Lord Haldane has provided you with shelter for the past months as you have orchestrated the campaign to eradicate the Vinculists. The aged officer has been an amiable host, more than willing to share a glass of amasec and a story of his time in the Imperial Navy. The accomodations have certainly been pleasing, the damage and destruction of the Pressure Point attack having long since been erased. And yet, the household has seemed markedly colder without the presence of his daughter, Adrielle. 
 
Caros Shoal and Lady Borella were executed swiftly after the conclusion of the Cell's investigations. Extensive trials were conducted on the nobles who had been arrested attending the soirees of the cult known as the True. Most have been released, suitably chastised for their drunken idling. Of the mysterious Siprit Daneen, who had shown such an interest in the Cell, there has been no sign.
 
The members of Septimus Cell have spent the last months orchestrating the closing stages of the campaign against the hereteks' holdings within the Praxian hive and across Hyades. Stroud has been able to use his contacts with the Adeptus Arbites to coordinate bloody and brutal assaults on these facilities. Each has lead to more intelligence, assiduously dissected by Astelan. In truth, the months had been filled with boredom, punctuated only by moments of brutality and violence. 
 
As evidence has mounted of the Vinculists' other holdings across Hyades, it has proven prudent to divide the Cell. Lemuel Hinds has taken Tellon Rand and the swordswoman Quintill with him; the Lieutenant seemingly relished the opportunity to take command. For those left behind in Praxis, it has almost seemed as though you have been forgotten. 

 

Any such illusions are quickly dispelled, however, as you are woken by servants, who inform you that Interrogator Brandt has arrived at the household, and is waiting downstairs. You dress quickly and descend to find the Interrogator having taken one of Haldane's receiving rooms. 

 

He stands with his back to you, staring out of a window at a particularly vicious thunderstorm that is battering the Hive. 

 

In the window, you see that his reflected face is pensive - and that does not bode well for you. 


Edited by Commissar Molotov, 19 May 2016 - 03:45 PM.

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QUOTE (voi shet magir @ May 31 2011, 05:38 AM) 
That is an unexpectedly strong assertion from a dead person.

#3
Easy E

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Roused by the servants, Astelan was embarrassed yet again to be found asleep and drooling upon the page.  He was doubly concerned as had been bathing the blessed St. Oliander in his sleep.  Awkwardly, he tried to wipe away the spot with the hem of his robe. 

 

For the most part, since that nightmarish attack on House Haldane, his days had been spent in recording and archiving.  Normally, such pursuits would be a joy, but when you are documenting the details of an interrogation or invoicing the contents of techno-heretics the work was far from relaxing.   He was surprised that no one seemed to mention anything about the Grey-skinned Tome or the "Dark Traveller".  He was hoping the investigation of the Vinculists would turn up more but the two may have been unconnected.   

  

In the few precious hours of downtime he had, the scribe had scoured the Amelian Library and the library of House Haldane for any information on the "Dark Traveller" as well.  Unsurprisingly, he had found nothing.  Even trips to the schola and visiting the more arcane lectures proved to be nothing more than an enjoyable diversion.  Whatever Xavier had stumbled across proved to be far more elusive than a simple archive search.  of course, his humble skills could only take him so far in such a search.      

 

The search exhausted, the Astelan turned his attention to a more personal and spiritual task in penance for his heretical thoughts about the horrors of duty in the Inquisition.  He had begun reading, copying, and illuminating his own version of the Tales of St. Oliander.  Father Zarkov had approved of his works, but Astelan kept his reasons for them to himself.  The work forced him to focus his mind and kept it from drifting and remembering the dark places of the last few…. months?  Indeed, it had only been a few months since that accursed document had found its way to his desk and led him to his current world, a world he felt strikingly unsuited.

 

The scribe wanted ever so badly to find more about the Grey-skinned Tome, so much like the one that had sealed his own fate and cost him his tongue.  Such a fate should not fall on any other unsuspecting student.  That's what he told himself anyway.  He didn't want to face the fact that the "Dark Traveller" was unsettlingly appealing to his mind.  For the most part, he recoiled at the dark magiks that had cursed the tome and caused it to burst into purple flame at his touch, and he knew it had broken the only man he knew to have fully read it.  The dark secrets within....     

 

Astelan had frozen in place staring at St. Oliander in his tome.  The servant sighed softly, and gently hustled the beleaguered scribe out the door and down toward one of Haldane’s receiving rooms.  Of course, the Scribe had to double back to his room once, for he had forgotten his St. Oliander Medallion tucked away next to his recent illumination projects.  Then, he had to double-back a third time to gather up some loose parchment he might need.  The suffering servant simply moved the scribe along as quickly and politely as he could, and kept his thoughts about Astelan’s intelligence to himself.  After all he was a good servant of the house.

 

At last, the servant managed to deliver the scribe to his appointment.  Astelan stifled a yawn as he trudged into the Receiving room.  However, he stood bolt upright when he saw who was there.  Interrogator Brandt stood at the window with his back turned.  Like a laser, Astelan’s mind cast aside the clouds and focused in on that man. 

 

Was he here for him?  Did he know about his moment of doubt?  His search for "The dark Traveller"?  Did he suspect weakness?  Scribe Astelan remembered the former Acolyte Prime had been removed silently in the night after displeasing Brandt and his mysterious Mistress.  What final fate befell the man still danced at the edges of Astelan’s nightmares.  The Scribe wondered if it was his turn to be shuffled away like so many before had been.      


Edited by Easy E, 19 May 2016 - 06:31 PM.

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#4
Marovian

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The knock at the door was unexpected.

 

It didn't disturb Stroud, he just wasn't overly used to visitors. The last few months had been busy, as the last of the heretics had been routed out. As prime, he had been kept busy planning and guiding. There had been occasional bursts of adrenalin as some Vinculists had refused to go quietly. Stroud has used his Arbites connections to rustle up support, raidng the last of the locations to drag the remaining rats out of their holes.

 

The cell had come through remarkably unscathed, phsycally if not mentally. But faces still haunted Stroud. Not those faces of the people who had fought against him, he cared nothing for traitors to the emperor. No, too many good, loyal servants had died as the heretics resisted the inevitable. Their deaths troubled him more than they should. Sacrifice was awlways a possible part of the deal, and certainly part of the life of an Arbites, but he had seen so much of it lately.

 

The life of Arbites had never been simple. But life under the inquisition was something else. Dealing with crime was all he initially knew. He had heard the stories about Arbites facing more serious threats, but they were just stories, he never expected to have to deal with them. Yet in just a few short months, he had faced some truly terrifying enemies. Had he been found wanting? He had no idea, if he was honest with himself. 

 

Over the last few days, the cell had been broken up, half of them sent emperor knows where. They were people that in his previous ife, Stroud would not have had anything to do with, but after what they had faced together, he regarded them as a close knit group. Having that removed from them was unsettling for him.

 

It felt like a long walk down to the room where they had been summoned. The house they walked through was grand enough, far more than the cell really needed, but since Adrielle had disappeared it had felt cold. What exactly had the two of them shared. He didn't know if he had the answer, and it seemed he woud not be seing Adrielle any time soon to ask.

 

The servant in front stopped, and beckoned for him to go alone into the room ahead. He walked through the ornate doors, not sure what to expect. Ahead of him, he saw a tense Astelan, all but oblvious to his presence. Near the window, stood with his back to him, was the unmistakable silhouette of Interrogator Brand. Stroud stood staighter without even realsing what he was doing as he waited for someone to speak.

 


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#5
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Boredom.

 

Of all the things that Nolan Reeve had expected to feel in the service of the Inquisition, he had not been expecting boredom. Oh true, when his transport had been rerouted to a minor orbital station above Hyades, there had been some idle curiosity. When he and his fellow penal legionnaires had been ordered to disembark and form up, still shackled and restrained in the freezing cargo hold, there had been some minor trepidation. When the blank-helmed stormtroopers had entered, lasrifles already charged and levelled at Reeve and his companions, there had been fear certainly, but also an acceptance of his ending. And once the sharp crack of gunfire had died and Reeve had opened his eyes to see that he was the only one of two-score men still standing, well, confusion had been paramount in his mind. Fear had turned to near terror when the representatives of the Inquisition had taken him and informed him that he was to be tested and assessed, but what seemed like unending months of questioning had dulled that terror to a dull ache.

 

And now these last weeks, stuck here in this flop-house of a hostel in some forgotten arm of some hab-sprawl of Hyades that he didn't even know the name of. Weeks that had seen that terror and fear and confusion over why the Ordos had taken an interest in him turn to nothing more than boredom. If this was life in the service of the Inquisition, well, he wasn't sure what all the fuss was about. And of course there was the matter of his death. During the interminable time of testing, those sepulchral and officious representatives of the Ordos had calm informed him that to all intents and purposes, Nolan Reeve was dead - executed during an escape attempt aboard an orbital station along with the other inmates assigned to his unit. No documentation, no access to funds, no recourse to other authorities and therefore nowhere to go should he choose to walk away - with a few strokes of a holostylus, they had imprisoned him as effectively as metre-thick walls of ceramite would.

 

So, boredom.

 

But now at least there was something to break the monotony of the last weeks. A summons to a location and maybe some explanation of exactly why he had been chosen for this.

 

Reeve checked his appearance one last time in the grimy mirror fixed to the plasterboard walls. The suit he wore was sober and formal, dark twill and cunningly cut to hide the bulk of the shoulder rig holding his Jackal. A wry grin crossed his lean face - while the weapon had been returned to him when he had been installed in this room, no ammunition had been provided. He may have passed their tests, but trust was obviously still in short supply. The ensemble was completed by a dark waistcoat over a simple white shirt, open at the collar, and good quality boots. It had been years since Reeve had dressed like this, and it was at once jarring and comforting to see himself looking normal again. He had affixed the small pin badge enclosed with the summons to the inside lapel of the suit jacket so that it remained hidden from prying eyes - if nothing else, he knew the Inquisition valued secrecy.

 

And then, despite his best efforts, Reeve caught his own eye in his reflection. The grin slipped away as though it knew it had outstayed its welcome and he froze for what seemed like an eternity before the tinny chiming of his pocket chron drew his attention. Time to leave.

 

Without looking back, Nolan Reeve strode from the room and began his new life in the service of the Inquisition as a dead man.

 

 

 

 


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#6
Commissar Molotov

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Stroud/Astelan
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Brandt looks out of the rain-slicked armaglas across a blackened ocean. His hands, clapsed behind his back, grasp a data-slate. 
 
"Acolytes. Your campaign has brought us a measure of victory, at last. The Vinculists are a threat both insidious and deadly, but they did not expect to meet such determined opposition. The Guild-Warders of the Praxian Hive have commended your strategy and your bravery in dismantling the enemy's operations. You have performed well."
 
He turns to regard you, taking the measure of each of you, and it is easy to remember his dispassionate examination of the corpse from the House of Forgotten Saints. His presence has always been linked to violence and pain; whilst he has spoken to you several times over the months, he could in no way be regarded as a friend of compatriot. His gaze, steady and unswerving, is steely as ever, but there is the faintest glimmer of something new: respect. 
 
"Well enough, it seems, to have garnered a reputation for yourselves."
 
He hands the data-slate to Stroud, as he crosses the room. 
 
"There is another Inquisitor, here on Hyades, and he has requested your aid. There is a rarely employed clause within the legislature of the Ordos Dalthus that enables one Inquisitor to plead for the temporary use of another's resources. To request acolytes is almost unheard of, but it is certainly possible. This matter is... somewhat irregular, to say the least. It is unusual for such a request to be made outside the circle of an Inquisitor's close allies, let alone his Ordo. Yet this Inquisitor has requested your aid specificially, and has used the formality of the Conclave to take you, if only for a time." 
 
The storm lashes at the window as the Interrogator continues.
 
"His name is Nahun Grist. His reputation is a sinister one; even within the conclaves of Far Dalthus, the powerful turn to hushed whispers at the mention of his name. He has sat here on Hyades like an old spider in a web for as long as any can remember, managing networks of spies and informants. Whatever his reasons may be for choosing you, they will be well-founded on knowledge. This is no mere chance." 

Edited by Commissar Molotov, 19 May 2016 - 09:32 PM.

THCsig_zpsr7llkfne.jpg
 
QUOTE (voi shet magir @ May 31 2011, 05:38 AM) 
That is an unexpectedly strong assertion from a dead person.

#7
Olis

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Days she had been here - in some low-rent dive that had barely any water running, let alone hot water - eking out what food was available to her. Once a day she had left the room and walked the streets with her hood up, if only to stop herself from going mad, making sure to take in the surroundings as best as possible. The first day she went for a walk, she had been given the biggest surprise in years when a bag full of her old gear was thrust into her arms by a hasty passer-by. She caught a glimpse of a green jacket and greying hair and nothing more. 
 
Screaming from the next room had woken Brye an hour ago. She'd been tempted to shout at whoever was bringing down the roof and bang on the wall but an unusual pang of caution stayed her hand. So she got up instead. Scratching her rump, she made her way to the distinctly dingy bathroom and performed her chilly morning ablutions under the flickering warmth a dim glow globe. At some point the screaming had stopped but that had not alleviated the sense of vulnerability that came from the knowledge that the four walls around her were paper thin. The plas-glass window was not any better, even if it would have had no hole.

 
On her clothes went, the dagger-and-rose pin affixed deep under her lapel - Brye was under no illusions about what trouble could land at her feet if she flaunted her patronage. Since the initiation, if that was what it was, Brye knew she had as much to fear from her benefactor as she did from society's dregs. 
 
Perhaps even more. 
 
But this could be a chance she would never get again. Pulled from the yoke of the Imperial war machine, Brye knew that her new masters, the Inquisition, did not baulk at the prospect of contravening the Departmento Munitorum. This was a chilling thought to Brye and had been for a while. The Ordos were all things and none, depending on which old legend you had listened to as a child. And now she worked for them.

 

Who was it that she was supposed to expect later? A band of cold-hearted killers? A motley crew of freaks and animals? Something far more mundane? She would find out soon enough.

 

A snap of the fingers flicked some sparks aloft, Brye having done her own small mental check to keep herself in balance. She checked the cheap chronometer on the wall. It was getting late.

 

Laspistol holstered. Gloves on. Hood up. Time to go. 
 
 
 


Edited by Olis, 19 May 2016 - 10:17 PM.

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#8
The Psycho

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A new day.

It wasn't easy, the Inquisition. Then again, Wyl hadn't expected it to be. Only a fool would've thought so. Wyl Munny had played many roles in his life- journeyman, mourner, bounty hunter- but never the fool.

The dive hab was a mess. Stained walls and furniture, worn down by the masses who had passed through, creaking walls, and a ceiling that almost certainly leaked. Not the worse situation Wyl had ever found himself in, but by no measure the best. No, not even close.

He looked over the parchment he'd been given the previous night by the messenger. He knew what it was- a summons. After all these months of being tried and tested, the Inquisition was finally calling him to its service, in pursuit of its unknowable ends. He had thought briefly about saying no, to deny himself to their use, just to see what would happen, but had decided against it. After all, what purpose would that serve? He belonged to the Imperium anyways, and they would always take their pound of flesh from him. Refusing them would only bring pain at best and at worst death. It would not be prudent, he decided.

Besides, if he died here, he wouldn't ever get a chance to find her.

Shrugging on his overcoat, grabbing his guns, Wyl Munny exited the crummy hab-block and made his way onto the street, fingering the tarot card in his pocket all the while. As he brushed past the Ministorum preacher ranting against depravity outside the hostel, he repositioned the wide hat upon his brow and made sure he had his dice with him, making sure he had not forgotten any of his belongings, as he affixed the pin to his lapel.

A new day, a new life.

It wouldn't be easy, the Inquisition, but he didn't expect it to be. Only a fool would've thought that. Wyl Munny had played many roles in his life- journeyman, mourner, bounty hunter- but never the fool. Now he was about to play one more, out of many.

Inquisitorial agent.

Edited by The Psycho, 19 May 2016 - 11:09 PM.

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#9
Commissar Molotov

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Father Zarkov's expression twists at the Interrogator's words. 

 

"And who is Grist, that he may command us this way? You say he has operatives and agents. Why, then, take us? Could he not seek to use us to untoward ends? Perhaps he seeks to blacken our mistress's name."

 

Brandt nods. 

 

"It is unusual - to say the least - for another Inquisitor to request the service of a group of acolytes such as yourselves. For that reason alone, if no other, our mistress has accepted Grist's request. She is keen that you discern exactly what his aims are. You serve our Lady first, and she trusts that you will conduct yourself appropriately." 

 

The preacher nods gruffly, though his doubts do not seem assuaged. 


THCsig_zpsr7llkfne.jpg
 
QUOTE (voi shet magir @ May 31 2011, 05:38 AM) 
That is an unexpectedly strong assertion from a dead person.

#10
Easy E

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Astelan’s eyes watched Interrogator Brandt intently as he handed the Data-slate to the Acolyte prime.  He moistened his lips unconsciously.  He knew that his time to review its contents would come soon enough. 

 

Astelan naturally recorded the details of the conversation with auto-quil to paper, it was automatic.  As he considered Father Zarkov’s words he absently noted his own thoughts on the matter into the margins of the report. 

 

Why Septimus Cell?

1. Vinculists?

2. Dark Traveler?

 

He tapped next to his notes once, twice, a third time, before moving on to capture Brandt’s response to the priest.  Father Zarkov seemed satisfied, but Astelan’s nervous mind was not.  He had rather enjoyed his days of relative solitude, study, and most importantly the avoidance of death.  He doubted his tenure with Inquisitor Grist would be any less horrifying than his time with the Lady Amaranthe.        



#11
Marovian

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Stroud was reminded of the old saying "damning with faint praise." Brandt had congratulated them and then effectively reassigned them. This had happened to Sroud once before and he hadn't liked it then, and he didn't like it now. But Brandt was not the sort of person he could get angry and shout at. He was painfully aware of the nervous tappig coming from the scribe to hs side. Zarkov had gone quiet, but Stroud suspected that he was less then pleased about being asked to infiltrate another inquisitors retinue.

 

"You say this man inspires hushed tones amongst the most powerful in the conclave. How sure are you of his intentions towards us? It worries me that he wants us now. With the others gone, there are only three of us left and if we are suddenly work for this man, without support, what guarantees do we have if our lady wishes us to spy on another Inquisitor? The odds seem against us."

 

As usual, Stroud was unsure if he had gone too far with the interogattor. But a part of him didn't really care that much. He had learned that sometimes, the people making the decisions didn't always see things the same as those carrying out the decisions. And being sent into what sounded like a carniv's den meant any consequences would be faced by the cell, most likely alone, and he did not relish the prospect. He reminded himself that as Prime, he was loyal wihout fault to the Emperor and the Lady, but that didn't mean he didn't want to keep the cell safe.

 

"Forgive me if I speak out of turn, I am only concerned for our safety and the progress of our work. We have lost people when operating with support, I do not want to lose any more. And how sure are we the Vinculists are eliminated?"

 

Stroud decided to shut up now. He hoped he had got his point accross. He fully accepted risk, knew that his line of work was dangerous and difficult, but he saw no sense in painting a target on his head for others to aim at. He suddenly felt a lot like a pawn, being passed between the two inquisitors on a whim. He realised he had barely glanceed at the data slate handed to him.



#12
Olis

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The walk to the rendezvous had not been going well, all things considered, thought Brye. She had already been accosted by a drunk - who now sported a fetching flick-spike hole in his leg - and was now being harangued by a street preacher. She kept walking, of course, but any notion of keeping a low profile was being ruined by a lunatic in a pointy hat. His proclamations and declarations about sinning and the terrors of those with, to quote, "abominable psy-powers" were drawing attention.

 

Taking an open, quiet stairwell down a hive-level afforded Brye a degree of solitude, barring the mental case still doing his best to harass her. She turned and met him with a steady stare. He slowed down and was about to stop where she had. The multitude of chains dangling from his body clinked as they swayed.

 

"Keep on walking, preach." Brye said. He stopped on the stair above her, and continued to rave. 

 

A swift wallop to the forehead with her pistol butt stopped his tongue, doubling him over as he saw stars. She looked up and down the stairwell. A brief glimpse of an onlooker at the top suddenly going about their own business encouraged her to get back on track. Putting a boot into the preacher's back sent him flying down the lengthy flight of steps, Brye resumed her walk. 


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#13
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Stroud/Astelan/Zarkov:

 

"There are no assurances here, Stroud. You were chosen by our Mistress for your incisiveness. On Meggdon you proved your willingness to stand up to those who abused their authority, and to weather their attempts to halt your progress. If Grist has an agenda that does not align with our own, we will act against him. I will provide you with the ability to contact me, whether through vox-link or astropathically. But for now, it is important that you perform Grist's will so as to not attract his ire. As for the Vinculists, Lieutenant Hinds will continue to prosecute that agenda. We cannot say they have been eliminated - they operate across the sector, and have for centuries. But your actions have severely hampered their ability to operate on Hyades - and with the attention of the Inquisition drawn here, it will not prove an enticing theatre to operate within. No doubt they will scuttle back to their holes and plan again. But we know now their agent's name - Theodosia - and knowledge is power."

 

"As to your reduced numbers? Well..." Brandt indicates the data-slate Stroud carries. "We have made arrangements for five new acolytes to join Septimus Cell. They have been drawn from disparate walks of life, but all have the potential to serve the Throne. I will leave it to you to induct them and assess their capabilities. As Prime, you carry a measure of our Lady's authority, and it is your right - your responsibility - to direct them as you see fit."

 

He stands, smoothing his clothes.

 

"Now, if there are no questions, I will take my leave. You are due to meet with Grist tomorrow. He maintains a guise as a notary and script in the Praxian Chancellery Courts. All the details are in the data-slate you carry."

 

++GM: The data-slate given to you by Brandt includes all the details in the folio thread for Yunxian, Eustasius, Munny, Reeve and Haygarth. It also provides details on Grist's rendezvous: He can be found at the Chancellery Courts in the Jargan Prefecture - a huge sub-division of the Praxian Hive given over to the Administratum. You will find him in the thirteenth chamber on floor thirty-nine of the outer wards. ++


Edited by Commissar Molotov, 21 May 2016 - 09:39 AM.

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QUOTE (voi shet magir @ May 31 2011, 05:38 AM) 
That is an unexpectedly strong assertion from a dead person.

#14
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What had once been simple hab-unit was now a tomb for hibernation.

 

With its physical form all but entirely detached from the yolk of human necessities, Tech-Savant and Chirugeon 6-72 required very little of what those who never united with the Omnissiah required. Food and Water were required only in the smallest doses to cycle through what remained of the Priest’s flesh, and even then it is a rarity as bodily waste is cycled through internal filtering systems to ensure a consistent flow. Long ago did the savant find its tongue and much of its mouth removed in place of more efficient respiratory systems and the small manipulator mandibles that now twitched rhythmically around the dark plating of its facial reconstruction. ‘What good is food without taste?’ That minuscule fragment of memory pulled itself from cranial systems without command in a rare moment of simple recollection. The words had come from noble 6-72 had tended to as a personal physician. Though the man had never spoken ill of the Chirurgeon’s work, it was hardly uncommon for him to speak in protest of the many changes of the human form undertakn in the process of oneness with the Machine-God.

 

Even in that time, many years ago, Yunxian was a far more presentable servant of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

 

The most relatable term to be used from its current state was ‘disrepair’. While much of 6-72’s form that had been transformed into that of sacred metal and consecrated iron remained in a poor but acceptable capacity, that what was once human has fallen by the wayside in its isolation. Vat-grown organs and musculature needed to be replace. The epidermal required a new layer of synth-skin. New organic optical lenses were needed with an entire reworking of the nerves that had simply decayed beyond repair. Though its visage was that of some ghoulish monstrosity, it was hardly close to a human of equal physical appearance that would likely pass to death’s door. These were functions that could be replaced in the care of the Biologis with somewhat mundane ease, given the opportunity, but Yunxian had not the resources on hand or another of the Biologis to undergo the operation. Some things a Chirurgeon simply could not do alone.

 

With much of the organic systems falling into mal-nutrition, 6-72 required energy to be rerouted from the power core centered from the spine, using the electrical current along the Electro-grafts to revitalize systems when necessary. That caused an added strain on the generator and increased its power consumption, thus requiring these states of hibernation.

 

The tech-priest was huddled against the wall in the darkness when only the dull light of lumen-strips outside danced through the windows. It pressed against the wall, electro-grafts running several cables hooked directly into the power current of the hab-block. It was to rest if it expected to be prepared for the coming task ahead.

 

The Inquisition.. In truth, such a title meant far less to the Chirurgeon than it might to others. What information dwelling within its cranial cortex was brief, at best, and provided hardly any light on the situation. There was no greater service in this corporeal world than service to the blessed Omnissiah, and this Inquisition was a form of service, no different than that of the Biologis. The pin had been taken, though Yunxian’s interest had been more inclined to the courier than the message itself at the time. The servitor was a far higher quality than what had been seen in these past years, a more sophisticated breed of thralls that 6-72 had not witnessed since its place back on the Forge World… That was enough to peek its interest. The pin had been attached to what withered skin remained on its chest cavity, hidden beneath the coat and what tattered cloth remained of its crimson robes. Most nerve receptors had been removed long ago for such mundane concepts as ‘pain’ to be of concern. The synthskin it wore was as much an article of ragged clothing as its coat.

 

Charged and prepared, the Chirurgeon donned the crude black mask of a billed corvian over its face, unhooked itself from the hab-block’s current and headed out the door as a ponderous, hooded figure stalking through the alleys on that stormy night.



#15
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The call had not been unexpected to Eustasius, there was never a question of whether he was loyal enough, hard enough or driven enough. When he had been given the instructions to make his way to the hab-hotel in the mid-levels of the Praxian hive it had come as now surprise to him. He had been sent here and there over the course of his career and where he went heretics died.

 

His journey was uneventful, the hab-hostel unassuming, and the robed figure he was, unremarkable. He walked to the hostel with mild hesitation, he did not feel any hesitation, it was simply the gait he adopted. He was a scholar of walks, for a walk noted your intention, with a mildly hesitant walk he became a traveller that wasn't sure this was the right place. Another walk, the one most natural to him, was the stride that told everyone around that The Emperor‘s work was about to be done, and he was the instrument of his will, his fist, his boot, his blade. He had shot men for how they walked towards him; he knew the walk of the scared, but determined man who was going to shoot him. But at that moment, he walked as a man that believed he was at the right place, but still not certain.

 

Once inside the room he did a thorough search of it, but as he suspected it was safe. Eustasius had closed the curtains and gone over his gear, making sure everything was clean, oiled and ready for action. When the courier had arrived Eustasius had accepted the letter, all the while keeping a gun trained at him behind the door. He put his badge inside the wallet with his Witchfinder badge and got ready, strapping his gear on and putting his robes on.

 

Before he left the door he looked down at his boot, tough steel toe leather boots, they were stained, some of it was dirt, but the stains that staid were the stains of blood. Not a few drops, his work did not result in drops of blood, his job resulted in the violent shedding of blood. His stride was no longer that of hesitation, he now strode with purpose.

 

Cower heretics, for the instrument of The Emperor has come


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#16
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More new recruits?  Astelan had naively assumed Lt. Hinds, Guardsman Rand, Tech-priest Majester, and Malia were going to return to Hyades.  After all, that was Septimus Cell.  With five new recruits, could it really be called Septimus Cell? 

 

So many had come and gone in the past few months, he vaguely wondered if it was worth recording them anymore.  As soon as the thought entered his mind, he recoiled in horror at it.  He wondered if such a thought would have even entered his mind when he was stationed in the Admin-Hive. 

 

Then, a second grim thought entered his mind.  His auto-quills moved to the notes in the margins of his report and documented automatically. 

 

Why Septimus Cell?

1. Vinculists

2. Dark Traveler

3. Expendable

 

He glanced between Acolyte Prime Stroud and Father Zarkov.  It didn’t take trained investigators to see he was not pleased with their new situation.  



#17
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Yunxian, Munny, Eustasius, Brye, Reeve

 

Finally, the time has come to end your imprisonment and join the service of the Inquisition. Each of you takes your own circuitous routes, eventually arriving at one of the Praxian Hive's largest transit hubs: Victrix Terminus.

 

"PRESENT TICKETS AND PASSES FOR INSPECTION. PRESENT TICKETS AND PASSES FOR INSPECTION. PRESENT..." 

 

The noise is neverending; demands issuing forth from vox-grilled servitors whose rheumy eyes are long past seeing. It takes you a moment to take in the enormous scale and majesty of the terminal itself; it is as large as a city block and just as high, domed ceilings held aloft by ornate pillers. The walls are covered in bas-reliefs of the Emperor's Saints, of grand military victories that led to the foundation of the sector, of the munificence of the hive governors as they feed and shelter the hive workers, and tapestries that some of you may recognise as depicting the wider Dalthus Sector. All around you, people are going about their business, pushing past and jostling in an effort to get to where they need to be. You glimpse sallow scribes, nobles dressed in dizzying fashions and surrounded by bodyguards and scampering cherubs. The dark green overcoats of Magistratum Enforcers are everpresent; their armoured visors and the heavy-barrelled lasweapons in their hands make it clear what the cost of civil disobedience will be. Vox-casters babble constantly with the news of arrivals and departures, to say nothing of the sheer noise of footsteps, of conversations. 

 

The missive gave you clear directions - you were to present yourself to Gate 197. It seems, however, that no other passengers are passing through the gate; they move onwards in a ceaseless tide from which you manage to disengage before being pulled away.  

 

You are met by a short, stocky figure, dressed in dark clothing and bearing a silver pin identical to yours. He ashes the tabac-stick in his stubby fingers and turns his disquieting gaze upon you. Bald, almost toothless, and entirely not what you expected of an agent of the Inquisition to be. His skin looks lined with age, although his frame suggests somewhat that he is well-built. He wears large goggles with glowing red lenses that magnify his eyes - eyes that seem to constantly flick over each of you. For your part, you are becoming used to being judged and appraised by those you meet. 

 

"You're late." 

 

You notice that half of his face, his neck and the back of his right hand are all badly scabbed. Some edges are flaking off; some have already peeled; others look red and swollen. From what you can see, it seems that his whole body must be similarly damaged. 

 

He sighs, and speaks again.

 

"They call me Scabs. You'll call me Atellus. Now, we'd best be going!" 

 

You follow the peculiar little man through Gate 197 and through a seemingly labyrinthine network of passages. You notice the occasional numbered door or juncture code; without these landmarks, the deserted corridors seem identical. If Atellus is phased by this at all, it seems unobvious; he pushes forward undaunted, before ascending several flights of stairs. When you reach a door marked with stencils demands that only authorised people pass, your guide punches a code into an obtrusive keypad. 

 

He turns to you, beginning to talk:

 

"We have to..."

 

 

The remainder of his sentence is whipped away by the searing winds as the door grinds open, depositing you onto a landing dock of some kind. You are assaulted immediately by sound and smell: from everywhere you are greeted with the roar of engines, the decoupling of locking mechanisms, the stink of promethium and fyceline overlaid with scorched plasteel. Smoke pours from uncoupled cables and grates. Lights blink and flash. There is a jumbled tangle of layered decks, metal crossbeams, observation towers, cargo lifts, off-loaded crates and cargo vessels of all sizes, makes and shapes.

 

Whilst you are unsure where you are going, it is clear that you've not taken the route of a normal passenger. Around, you see Magistratum guards and dockworkers; you easily stand out, and it is mere seconds before a group of Magistratum Enforcers approach you with their weapons trained. 

 

Atellus stops them in their tracks; his hand suddenly bears a glint of metal in the shape of a stylised "I". The guards immediately lower their weapons, and the agent beckons them over. He proceeds to use coded hand-signs to communicate with them over the noise. They sign back - one pointing to a deck or perhaps a craft behind them. Atellus nods to them, and your brief respite is over; you are led between, under and across the various decks to a slightly quieter area of the dock where a number of shuttles are parked. 

 

Atellus still has to shout to be heard over the din. "This is ours." He indicates a somewhat battered-looking craft, its hull ticking as it cools. The pilot lounges next to the craft, lho-stick in hand. He smiles as he sees you - a smile that isn't shared by your scabby guide. 

 

"Get in. We're due to meet with your Prime soon." 

 

The interior of the craft is utilitarian; you are able to strap yourselves in and perhaps get your first glimpse at the other individuals that share your fate. 


Edited by Commissar Molotov, 22 May 2016 - 04:30 PM.

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QUOTE (voi shet magir @ May 31 2011, 05:38 AM) 
That is an unexpectedly strong assertion from a dead person.

#18
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Eustasius was used to being the first to arrive, when he was asked to arrive at 3, he would arrive at 1. Social conveniences were nothing to him but something to plan other people's behavior around. He sat down in his car, waiting for the rest of the company. He knew they would look strange, untrustworthy and even perhaps heretical. He knew looks were deceiving, the most loyal subjects might seem the most heretical, were not many of The Emperor's sons psykers and even The Emperor himself? The Inquisition did not allow for fools, if Lady Amaranthe was a fool he was dead already anyway.

 

So for now he sat, waited and watched. 


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#19
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Brye sat and strapped herself in, conscious of the others in the compartment. While each of them looked unpleasant, in their own way, the witch hunter looked plainly hostile (and quite lethal) sitting in his armour and oddly monastic robes. His current expression left her no doubt - this man was a fanatic. Not the screaming, frothing at the mouth kind but the quiet, canny, kill your whole family without batting an eyelid kind. She'd seen plenty of his ilk before on Terra. All of them left her feeling uncomfortable, even at a hundred yards. The Imperium was a hard place that bred men just like him every single day.

 

Moving her gaze away from the scarred man, the guy in civilian clothing grinned at her. He had a con-artist's smile that was about as trustworthy as a 'slaught pusher using his own chems. She had no doubt he could handle himself but the way the smile and the gaze worked together simply oozed reptilian creepiness. Brye made a mental note to stay away from that one.

 

In another seat, what looked like a frontier drifter regarded her. He seemed hard and cold - someone who'd seen too much to be surprised by what was going on. Admittedly, Brye herself had been to the Throneworld, so in a way, she was the same. She looked away. Of all of them, the Drifter seemed less of a gamble than the others. Maybe even trustworthy. That particular thought made her smirk. Here she was with a zealot, a snake and a drifter. 

 

Oh, and a tech-priest... she couldn't miss the tech-priest because well, the tin-man faintly smelt of mildew. Or was that Scabs? She shrugged. It didn't matter. The tin-man was a lot like all the others she'd seen in her life; a little too inhuman. Then a thought struck her. Was it a tin-man at all? Could it be a tin-woman? Was there a difference? She shook her head. Unless proven otherwise, the tin-man would be just that - a tin-man.

 

And she was staring again. Brye looked around once more. Yep. God-Emperor help her, she was shut in with some colourful characters indeed. Brye decided she suddenly had a great interest in the view from the window.


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#20
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Brye sat and strapped herself in, conscious of the others in the compartment. While each of them looked unpleasant, in their own way, the witch hunter looked plainly hostile (and quite lethal) sitting in his armour and oddly monastic robes. His current expression left her no doubt - this man was a fanatic. Not the screaming, frothing at the mouth kind but the quiet, canny, kill your whole family without batting an eyelid kind. She'd seen plenty of his ilk before on Terra. All of them left her feeling uncomfortable, even at a hundred yards. The Imperium was a hard place that bred men just like him every single day.

Eustasius noticed the girl sitting down, she was a psyker, no doubt about it. She was a slum-born, she had been up against the law, no one else looked around them like that unless they did. He pretended to be bored and stare out the window while he let her take him in, he knew he was her nightmare, she thought he was the clumsy type to stake her in the street. She thought he didn't respect The Emperor's choice to spare the ones that survived the soulbinding, HE was infallible. He knew he could never set her completely at ease, but she was chosen by The Emperor AND the Ordos...

 

After he had given her time to take him in, before the rest arrived he spoke to her

 

"I have flayed psykers in the street girl, I have shot them dead in front of their families. But they had not survived The Emperor's soulbinding. My eyes are open to heresy, but not closed to piety, I am not your enemy child. You have proven yourself as if I had held your trial myself, perhaps even more so. Rest easy that I pose you no threat ...while you remain true in your heart."

 

He smiled, as much to himself as to her. He doubted the sight of his face would calm anyone's nerves, but there was always a first for everything.


Edited by Skinrider, 22 May 2016 - 06:18 PM.

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#21
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For what it was worth, Brye managed to smile back. It was fleeting and a rather flat smile that hid none of her anxiety of the man but it was done. She met his eyes briefly. A chill ran down her spine. Her mother used to tell her that it was someone reading her headstone but Brye knew better than that. Oh yes, she knew better. It was going to be a while before she would feel anything but anxiety while he was around. He may have been true in saying he would not harm her... but there was always room for mistakes. A dark thought spilled out from her hind-brain; could she kill him before he killed her? She doubted it. She doubted it very much. 
 
It was just as well that she was a sanctioned psyker, then.

Edited by Olis, 22 May 2016 - 06:42 PM.

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#22
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So, thus far serving the Inquisition was akin to being in some low-rent noir experia filmic, the kind shown in a cheap smoky pic-house in the middle of the day. Mysterious packages and rendezvous, backyard flyers and now a meeting of what might just be the most random and scab-poor people Reeve ever seen, including himself.

 

Let's be honest here, thought Reeve - the first direct representative of his new employer looked like something had crawled onto his skin and died, and now his skin was dying itself in a show of solidarity. Not exactly the best looking introduction to their boss. And lets look at the other chosen few. A Mech-Rep that had clearly seen better days and now resembled something like a shrouded corpse held together by tatters and augments. An old guy, greyer and drier than the last meat strips the prison canteen had supplied, looked like he'd bleed dust more than anything else. Some bright-eyed fanatic, looked like he had a grudge against the whole left hand side of his body and wanted to replace it with more augments.

 

Still, least there was the girl. Yeah, she might not be as tall and slender as he liked them, but she was a redhead. And compared to the beauties serving in the 134th, she was a stone cold stunner. Reeve caught her glancing his way and favoured her with one of his more charming grins before she looked away. Definitely something to work with there if nothing else presented itself.

 

Throne, if this was the best that the Ordos could do, their reputation was entirely undeserved. He listened with a mounting sense of almost disbelief as the fanatic introduced himself to the girl with what might the least-comforting greeting Reeve had ever heard outside of the penitentiary. Piety. Definitely Reeve's least favourite virtue, aside from chastity. And the girl was a witch as well.

 

Reeve leaned back as far as the seat cradle would allow him and fought the urge to sigh. A new life serving the Ordos, and this was how it started.

 

Perfect. Just perfect.

 

 


Edited by JackDaw, 22 May 2016 - 06:46 PM.

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#23
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Eustasius saw a man enter the car. Not a bad looking man, smiling at the girl naturally, a grin, a leer more like, someone who thought he was smarter than those around him. That usually got a man dead, he wasn't dead so perhaps he was smarter than the run of the mill idiot, if not, he'd learn soon enough whether he was smarter than the enemies of the Imperium. He looked like he could be used as a human shield at least, 3-4 bullets at least before he went down. Eustasius hoped the man's life was worth more than 3-4 bullets.

 

Eustasius' eyes never moved towards the man, he kept looking out the window and at the chrono on the wall like he was anxious to leave. People are more relaxed when they are around a man that isn't interested in them.


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#24
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Situating himself in his seat, Wyl regarded his new companions with a weary eye. A motley crew they formed, he thought (then again, he was hardly exempt from that,) and certainly there was going to be discord brewing soon enough, if it hadn't already.

Across from him sat a cogboy of the Mechanicus, whom Wyl hadn't seen move a muscle, or servo as the case may be, since they took their seats in the vehicle. Wearing a avian mask and draped in tatters, the tech-head had clearly seen better days. Then again, so had Wyl. Wyl had dealt with members of the Mechanicum before, and beyond their cultish ways and cutthroat internal politicking, they were generally fairly honest, if misdirecting, in their business ventures. Always a bit hard to get a read on, though, and so Wyl decided to reserve judgement on the cogboy for now, until he had a chance to see how the being operated as part of the group.

One man looked like he had been through Hell and back, his face a mess of scar tissue and metal augmentics. Wearing carapace armor, Wyl pegged him as some sort of merc, possibly a high-level assassin or even another bounty hunter. As the man opened his mouth for the first time, Wyl realized how wrong he was and involuntarily stiffened to an undetectable degree. A witch hunter. Probably a religious fanatic. Rutting hell. And knowing his luck, the Inquisition would be making this guy his permanent partner or some such hivewaste as that. He'd dealt with this sort before, though, and he'd do it again, all for the Throne. Such was life.

The girl that the hunter addressed, though, she brought back memories, memories of a past life, from long before he had gotten his Raptura seals and started hunting bounties. That wasn't good. He'd buried that all a long time ago, and he sure as hell wasn't going to let it off his game now. The witch hunter addressed the girl as if she was a psyker. Wyl couldn't have said for certain, but the girl's reaction pretty much confirmed it. Interesting. Wyl understood the usefulness of psykers, and he harbored no particular ill will towards them, so he simply made a mental note of the fact. The girl herself seemed amicable enough, in any regard. The familiarity was only an additional bonus.

Last in the car, besides the odd little Attelus, was a man dressed in civvie clothes and a rogue's smile. Wyl immediately distrusted the man. A conman almost certainly, a trickster, a snake in the grass. He told himself the way that the man was smiling at the girl had nothing to do with it, that he wasn't feeling the overprotectiveness attributed to fathers and the like. Certainly not.

Relaxing back in his seat, Wyl Mundy pulled down his hat and closed his eyes. He didn't expect it to be a short journey, wherever they were going, so he might as well catch a little bit of rest.

He didn't go to sleep, though. He would have had to trust the others before that happened, and it certainly wasn't going to happen anytime soon.

Edited by The Psycho, 23 May 2016 - 05:39 AM.

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#25
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Stroud really should have been at ease with new recruits joining the team. It had happened before and he had a sickening feeling that it would happen again and again during his inquisitorial service, and most likely for the worst reasons. But new members always took time to bed in, were an unknown quantity and had to be given time to meld with the others. This was a dangerous situation to be in when going up against people who wanted you dead.

 

Alone in his room, Stroud pondered the 'slate in front of him. The details made for interesting reading, and down right alarming reading in places.

 

The first was a member of the Mechanius. Stroud had not had major dealings with them prior to his induction, but they were generally cosnidered benevolent and beyond being obssessed with machines, he didn't forsee a probem. He did know that whatever "it" was, it woud likely not be the life and soul of the group. The cog-wearers tended to be introverted. 

 

The others were perhaps typical of the apparently random way the inquisitors recruited there staff. A bounty hunter? Well, that could be someone with a jumped up attitude, full of themselves and strutting around like a want to be Arbites. Or it could be a level-headed, sensibe individual with life experience aplenty. Ony time would tell. Pretty much the same could be said of the guardsmen slash penal legionnaire. He would be somewhere between cut throat killer to a guardsmen who had just upset the local commisar. Stroud forced his inner Arbite not to judge someone who had a record. 

 

The last two, they worried him from the start. How on Terra would they work together? Witch finders were pious, fire-spitting type who could and did wipe out whole hab-blocks on a whim. A psyker, sanctioned or not, would be the kind of person they made a bloody and gruesome example of, not work with.

 

They were both types of people Stroud had not really met. The one time there had been a hint of a psyker in his precinct, allegedy working for a local gang, they had been banned from the area for 24 hours and had to watch as heavily armed men swooped in. When they were done, even the gangs graffiti tags were gone, and they were never mentioned again. Witchfinders he had even less experience of, mainly just the stories one of his tutor-Arbites had told him that he had never taken at face value. Mainly because they seemed so far fetched.

 

In many ways, nothing was changing and yet everything. It was another group of random individuals that had to be forged together whilst at the same time doing the inquisition's bidding. and yet he had been through this before. The original cell had started with a group of people who shouldn't have worked together, and they had achieved some incredible work. Could they do it again? Stroud, as Prime, had to make sure they did.

 

He had already arranged to meet the group in one of the grand reception halls in house Haldane. He glanced at the chrono on his watch - it was an hour before their arrival, but he headed out. Zarkov and Astelan should already be there.

 

Sure enough, they were waiting for him. He saw Zarkov's curious look, and Astelan with his pen poised as always.

 

"Friends, it would appear we have yet again, a new mission, and some new recruits. Brandt has been kind enough to furnish me with their previous credentials."

 

He proceeded to outline what he knew about each of them, trying to bring the others up to speed as much as possible. Some leaders like to only tell others what they needed to know, and sometimes, that was the way to go. But now, Stroud judged it more useful that people he trusted should know as much as they could, if only because they might pick up on something he had missed.

 

"The most important point for us is not to pre-judge these people. We don't know them but we must trust the Lady has picked well. We have already been through this before when we first came together, and look what we achieved. I would like to avoid any tension as much as possible whilst we are effectively undercover in another inquisitors service."

 

Stroud was not sure if he was trying to tell them or convince himself.

 

"The others will be here soon, any questions?"


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