With each of the assembled brothers having spoken, the double doors to this strategium open inwards, revealing a group of individuals. Three are Astartes; none of you, however, can mistake which of the warriors is in command. The Watch-Captain of Azurea stands tall as he descends the steps to join you.
His face is regal and patrician, his hair grey and belying his wisdom. His armour bears the insignia of the Inquisition upon his breastplate, and gilded saints can be seen praying and exhorting the Emperor in alcoves along his gorget. It is quickly becoming customary for you to look for the shoulder armour of your brothers in order to discern their origin, their gene-history and some aspect of their temperament. The Captain's is no common armorial depiction, but a mural of intricate artistry that you all recognise viscerally. It bears the image of a skeletal figure, haloed, astride a golden throne
. A stylised image of the Emperor of Mankind. Beneath, a scroll bears the Imperial gothic 'SERVI AUTEM'.
After the dark and overt brutality of Vârvost, the Captain seems like a beacon of considered calm. His eyes flicker each of you, just for a moment, and you feel as though you have been quickly and instinctually appraised.
"Greetings, brothers," a voice accustomed to command swells to fill the strategium around you. "Welcome to the Watch-Station, and to the service of the Deathwatch. I am Diocles, Captain of the Watch. I have been acquainted with each of your exploits as related by the venerable Chapters from which you hail. We are strengthened by your service, just as service strengthens you."
Diocles gestures back to the other Space Marine, the contrast between them stark.
Your short service on this Station has exposed you to a dizzying variety of Space Marines. This warrior wears detailed armour that you recognise as Maximus armour, an ancient suit of armour edged in gold and draped in animal skins. He stands shorter than the Captain - shorter perhaps than nearly all of you, but squat, barrel-chested. His flame-red hair seems to form a mane and as he sees all of you his lips part to form an earnest grin that reveals pointed canines.
"This is Brother Thorvald, of the Space Wolves." The Captain says. The Space Wolf nods at you as Diocles continues. "I am sure you will have ample opportunity to gain the measure of one another as you serve. For now, though, we must attend to the matter at hand. You are to be dispatched on a mission of some import."
Captain Diocles steps forward into your circle, keying an activation rune on the strategium table. There is a flicker before the hololithic display resolves into clarity, showing a amber-tinged representation of a planet.
"The world of Syndalla. An agri-world on the far frontier of the Expanse."
"A backwater." One of the non-astartes figures interjects. He wears a robe that you might think of as belonging to a scribe, inscribed with wards and runes that exhort the Emperor and decry the alien. At his neck he wears a golden medallion of the Imperial Inquisition.
"You speak out of turn." The Space Wolf grumbles, a bass sound like a truncated volcano churning its way towards eruption.
"I speak with the authority of my mistress, the Lady Lythea," the figure replies. He stands a head shorter than the Astartes, and yet seems more than willing to defy them. "That gives me the authority. I have spent days here petitioning for your services. If you will not heed my voice, heed hers."
The Captain raises a hand, a curt chopping motion, and all falls silent.
"As Interrogator Ryken mentions, Inquisitrix Lythea of the Ordo Xenos has petitioned us for aid as part of her investigation on Syndalla." The Captain raises a data-slate, though it appears he doesn't need it to recall the details he has committed to memory. "Certain irregularities have brought the planet to the attention to the Inquisition. A rise in the reported rates of children still-born not tallying with the statistics for burials. Reports of riots against the planetary governance. Preachers pronouncing the Emperor's imminent return in a rain of fire and blood. A decline in Imperial tithes. Perhaps each of those on its own is not a cause for concern. The sort of thing that might be resolved by the Adeptus Arbites, or the Astra Militarum. And yet the Inquisitrix's last communication to her agents indicated her belief that the world had fallen under the influence of the xenoform codified as the gene-stealer."
The Captain pauses a second - not for dramatic effect, but rather to let the import of that sink in for a second.
"All of you assembled here will form a Kill-Team and make for Syndalla aboard the Imperial Navy vessel Voice of Thunder. You are to rendezvous with Inquisitrix Lythea and render any aid necessary to root out any xenos influence and clease the planet. You will depart within the hour; if you have any questions I suggest you raise them now."
Edited by Commissar Molotov, 22 February 2018 - 08:46 PM.