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    LO Zealot Addoran's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Liverpool, England
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    Fluff Story - First Draft

    I've been working on this a few days inspired after I read Nightbringer again. This is a first draft version up to where I'm satisfied with it. The end is written, I'm just still working on getting it quite right, so I'll post the rest here when I'm happy with it. Then when it's been made better than 'satisfactory', I'll stick the finished version in the fiction Librarium. There are still a few things I'm not happy about with even the parts here, let me know what you think.

    Inquisitorial Fortress – Imperial World Cibinal

    The fortress was the focus of the Inquisition presence on the world, being the headquarters of the local Inquisitorial envoy. Tall, fortified and forbidding, she was a dark watchtower upon the people of the world, her inhabitants scrutinising constantly for any sign of heresy. Stormtroopers in black Inquisition uniforms stood guard outside every entrance, radiating a constant posture of both vigilance and power to any brave enough to stop and observe them.

    Inside the building, four such stormtroopers stood guard outside the lift that led to the topmost floor of the building, comprising a single office. All were clad in the same black carapace armour bearing the Inquisitorial symbol, a grinning skull embossed with a stylised capital ‘I’. With their black gasmasks and long hellguns the four experienced veterans knew of old that they were a fearsome sight, long service in the Inquisition meant they were trained to revel in their ability to intimidate.

    The first two to die never saw their attacker, nor did they feel the blade that killed them. As their comrades turned in puzzlement at their friends collapse, too late did they realise that they were under attack. The sheer ferocity of their assailant meant that they were dead before they succeeded in raising their rifles to shoot. Leaving the slumped forms where they lay, the intruder calmly pressed a button to ascend the lift to the office above.

    The old man sat at the desk reading some of the many stacked papers that lay upon it. Hearing the lift bell ring he raised his head in puzzlement as the guards had not announced any visitors coming up to see him. Seeing the person that exited the lift, his expression of puzzlement deepened. In the last few seconds of his life it changed slowly to one of recognition. His mind was considering reaching out to grasp the bolt pistol that lay upon the desk, but he was dead before the nerve impulses were ever even sent to his hand. As his dead form lay slumped across the desk his attacker returned to the lift carrying a select set of the documents from the desk, satisfied the objective had been achieved.

    Twelve days later – Inquisitorial frigate Divine Rule – En route to Cibinal

    As briefings went, this one looked like it was going to be interesting. Sitting in the ready room, briefings usually comprised himself, Rasal and some frightened officer of the Imperial Guard or Navy, sweating and eager to please. The two expressionless giants sitting opposite him were quite a departure from this norm. When he had requested outside help and had been informed that the Space Marines had been assigned to him, he hadn’t been sure whether he should be pleased or not. And now a Strike Cruiser, the Hammer of Foes, carrying an entire company of marines was following the Divine Rule.

    “Thank you for your rapid assistance in this matter, it is good that we have a chance to rendezvous before our arrival at Cibinal? Inquisitor Landros began, trying to begin the briefing on pleasant terms.

    The Commander who had introduced himself as Saul merely nodded, the Chaplain to the left of him made no motion at all. The black armoured Chaplain still carried his grinning skull helmet under his arm, and Landros knew Rasal was staring at it more than was polite. Landros decided that pleasantries were pointless and decided to get on and brief them.

    “Your assistance has been requested in this matter due to an insurrection on the Hive world of Cibinal. Here is the situation as it stands right now. Cibinal is a typical Eastern Fringe Hive world, population 2.4 billion, it makes a major contribution to local sector production, particularly in war materials and vehicles. She has been long classified as ‘unlawful’ by the Adeptus Arbites, but they never made any serious attempt to control the gangers as long as they did not interfere with the manufactorums. Recently however the situation has changed, as one gang has rapidly become more powerful that any other on Cibinal.

    Gang Skuld used to be a minor player in underhive politics, but in the last few years a new leader, man named Kroleus, has brought a policy of aggressive expansion that caused them to overshadow all other gangs on Cibinal. Aggressive tactics targeting and removing their competitors mean there is now few gang zones left there that don’t belong to the Skuld?

    Stopping to look at the marines, he could see that they regarded this as quite superfluous information, and were waiting for him to come to the point. So far they were unable to see where their assistance was required.

    “Six months ago the gang was sufficiently strong to become a worry to the Planetary Governor. The governor apparently received information that Kroleus had become interested in some dangerous archaeo-tech, and was getting far too big for his boots. He started haranguing the administratum for assistance, until finally at his request the administratum detailed an adept of the Callidus temple of the Officio Assassinorum, agent Sepilarius who disappeared on assignment, probably killed by the target. From then on, this seemed to spark a major series of attacks upon Imperial facilities, a campaign of violence against the servants of the Emperor on the world. Basically this is the part where it starts to become important enough to bother us.

    The Arbites particularly have become the targets of many damaging attacks and ambushes, and have been unable to regain control of the underhive. The governor has requested material aid in building up the local PDF to a more powerful force to tackle this, and started a recruiting drive to build up enough forces to pacify the Skuld. Attacks reached their head two weeks ago with the assassination of the Inquisitorial envoy to the planet Inquisitor Jomas, which is of course when we could no longer…?

    “What do you know of this man Kroleus?? Saul interrupted the Inquisitor’s flow.

    Landros reached across to the requisite parchment and began scanning it for information.

    “Kroleus? Not much is in the records. Ascended to power of gang Skuld three years ago by assassination of the previous leader. Made the Skuld what they are today. Has survived numerous assassination attempts by his competitors, a few attached notes here about his apparent interest in archaeo-tech. Single photo?, finished Landros and held up a photo of a tall muscular man with red hair.

    “When we reach Cibinal, I will kill this Kroleus for you? replied Saul.

    “No, that’s not what I want you to do? answered Landros. For the first time he saw a twinkle of curiosity and annoyance enter the Commander’s eyes.

    “On arrival I want you to take your strike cruiser and conceal it and yourself in the gravity well of Cibinal’s moon. There you are to wait until I request your intervention. Will you do this?? he inquired.

    “If those are your instructions I will do as you request, I act only in his immortal name. Is there any further pertinent information I will require in this briefing?? asked Saul brusquely.

    “Not really….no? Landros had to admit.

    “Then we have heard all we must, we shall return to the third company. Come Nathaniel, the men require your Litanies of Battle? he directed to the Chaplain.

    “Until you require us then we will return to the Hammer of Foes. The Angels of Atonement stand ready for your command Inquisitor? Saul and the Chaplain bowed and left the two men alone.

    Landros sighed for a minute, and then turned to Rasal.

    “So old man, what do you think?? he asked of his compatriot.

    “He thinks this mission is beneath him, you don’t need Space marines to take on Hive gang. And your not even going to let him do that, making a company of marines sit in space twiddling their thumbs until you give them your word. He thinks it a sign of your pride…?

    “I meant about the mission? he replied, looking at Rasal directly and sarcastically.

    “Two obvious things are wrong. Firstly the why, the whole thing just doesn’t make sense, there’s no reason for it. Gangs get by doing their profitable activities in the quiet, and being too small to be worth our attention. Coming out of the underhive and fighting the Imperium is both unprofitable and dangerous, and they risk bringing Imperial retribution down on their heads.

    The second obvious thing is the how. Those casualty figures, the Arbites controls have been a complete failure. Gangers cutting to pieces fully armed and armoured judge units? The death of Assassin Sepilarius, the assassination of Inquisitor Jomas inside the fortress? Not something you normally associate with a gang of rag tag cutthroats?.

    Rasal had echoed all of his private surmises. Landros stood up and walked over to a decanter on a table behind them.

    “And that my good man is why those Space Marines are not going in with me. Someone must be backing the Skuld, there is a conspiracy at foot on Cibinal. Jomas himself indicated he felt so and was undertaking some investigation, but apparently all parchments relating to it were taken. I must investigate this thoroughly, and who is sponsoring this man Kroleus. I needed a force from outside to assist, the Inquisition forces on the planet can’t be expected to fight this gang alone. Space Marines are not exactly known for their subtlety though, so I shall need them to stand off twiddling theirs thumbs until my investigation is complete?

    He poured himself a drink, and then proceeded to down it quickly.

    “But when my investigation is over, I probably shall be glad to know I have them in my corner?

    14 Hours later – Main Landing platform - Cibinal Primus Hive

    The deep, low rumble of engines shook the landing pad. Outstretched on struts from the Hive wall, crates stacked shuddered in place with the vibrations along the length of the platform. The Inquisition shuttle slowly descended into place, and the docking clamps engaged and secured it to the platform. The small welcoming party of officials stood waiting in the wind, awaiting the Inquisitor and his party. The Landing Pad stood exposed to Cibinal’s atmosphere, which oddly wasn’t too bad for a Hive world. Unlike many Hive Worlds, despite centuries of pollution the atmosphere was not toxic, although it was unpleasantly hot and thick with carbon emissions. Indeed people could have survived outside the hives as a desert world, were it not for the fact that reasonable water deposits were too deep to make any other world type practical. The hives were built on the only main location where these water deposits were close enough to the surface to be tapped.

    The shuttle door opened and four figures moved down onto the ramp. The tall figure appeared of Inquisitor Landros, closely followed by the rather squat figure of Rasal, flanked by two Inquisitorial stormtroopers. The welcoming party consisted of a fat balding man who patted himself nervously with a hankerchief and an older officious looking man with greying hair in a grey uniform. Another man wearing the distinctive black leather and carapace breastplate uniform of the Adeptus Arbites stood a little separate from these two. Finally there were correspondingly 4 grey uniformed guards maintaining a perimeter around the party.

    “Welcome to Cibinal Inquisitor, I am governor Vebin? the fat man began, wiping his forehead with the tissue. He was wearing an exquisite silk suit, which was being rapidly ruined by the dusty atmosphere.

    “A pleasure to meet you governor? Landros replied, shaking his hand.

    “I am Inquisitor Arjen Landros, and this is my scribe Petwin Rasal?

    “This is the chief of my personal guard, Bogdan? he gestured to the greying man, “and the planetary chief of the illustrious Arbites, Lord Faergus?

    Landros shook hands with Faergus, and the governor motioned for them to leave the windswept ramp. The two parties joined and left the dusty atmosphere together, entering the airlock and into the interior of the hive.

    “I always thought that Inquisitors travelled with large retinues Landros??

    I myself have never felt the need for a large retinue, just myself and my scribe. I shall require quarters in your palace governor, my investigation may take some time?

    “You don’t intend to stay in the Inquisitorial fortress?? the governor looked perplexed. He then relaxed and sagged his shoulders.

    “Of course not, silly me, the death of Jomas was a tragedy to us all. Of course you don’t intend to stay in that building. How long until you reckon you catch the damn Skuld who did it??

    “I will remain until I have caught the culprits? was Landros’s cool reply.

    “Ultimately I’m sorry to say your just going to execute a few gangers, which will never equal the loss of such a great man as Jomas. I wouldn’t worry though, the situation on Cibinal is now in hand. My requests to the administratum to increase the size of the PDF by 45% have reportedly gone down favourably. Of course I couldn’t deploy the PDF in it’s normal condition, redeploying the planetary defence force would have potentially weakened planetary defence. Suppose I sent half the force into the underhive and some of those damned Eldar or Orks turned up? But with the recruitment drive the PDF is nearly up to it’s projected end strength, ultimately soon the Skuld gang will be put back in whatever hole they crawled from. So I’m sorry you will probably find this all just a wasted trip?

    “Don’t worry about such things governor, the truth will out? he replied again coolly.

    Seeing as he was making no headway impressing upon Landros, Vebin rapidly realised his presence was no longer required and made his excuses. His entourage and personal guard left, leaving just Landros, Rasal and Faergus alone.

    “So Precinct-Lord Faergus, I hear you have been liasing with Inquisitorial security on the death of Inquisitor Jomas. What are your initial conclusions??

    “We have none, we are at a complete loss. We have had the logic machines running dozens of simulations but were at a loss to explain how the intruder even entered the building undetected. The intruder got past the security detail, and managed to kill the Inquisitor without triggering any alarms, and then left also completely undetected?

    “So to sum up, you’ve no idea who killed him or why??

    “No, we have no idea how but we have an idea who. The Skuld have claimed responsibility for the assassination of Inquisitor. Our attempts to pacify them have been temporarily halted due to the heavy casualties amongst the Arbites teams who attempted to defeat them. They are unusually well armed and dug in amongst the underhive, which was something your predecessor was investigating. We’ve temporarily halted to allow the PDF to take care of them instead?

    Landros nodded, and allowed Faergus to take his leave too. He also dismissed the stormtroopers, he couldn’t investigate with them two following him around all the time. He allowed them to return to the shuttle and depart back to the Divine Rule.
    Rasal and Landros made their way to the quarters assigned to them within the Governor’s Palace. They passed through into the Governor’s palace, along corridors guarded by the Governor’s personal guard in their distinctive grey uniforms. Entering the quarters assigned to them, Landros went through the customary ritual of checking them for surveillance devices before discussing events with Rasal.

    “So Rasal, what do you think of that?? he asked, as soon as he was finished.

    “For a man who was panicked enough into badgering the Administratum to sending an assassin, he doesn't seem to want our help much? Rasal answered, reading Landros’s mind as per usual. Landros valued him as such a sounding board, as it allowed him to take devil’s advocate against his own arguments.

    “True, but his build up of the PDF seems to have given him confidence to act. He also seems to be well guarded, his personal guard all look like they know their business. Anyway, what about Faergus??

    “Seems the most reliable local contact Inquisitor. What’s the plan now??

    Landros smiled before replying.

    “We do what we came here to do, we investigate. Tomorrow I want to get a look at some of these Skuld up close?

    15 Hours Later – Cibinal Primus Hive – Underhive Area

    He stalked quietly through the deserted streets of the underhive watching for anyone who might take an unhealthy interest in him. He was clad in a flowing black robe that conveniently hid the shape of his carapace armour below it. He mentally took stock of the weapons he carried upon him. His blessed axe hung by his side on open display as is the custom with gangers, to discourage any muggers. Deactivated it had the appearance of a normal axe to the uneducated(if rather ornate), when it was actually a master-crafted power weapon from his personal armoury aboard the Divine Rule. He was counting upon that any opponent he might face down here probably was uneducated, such power weapons were rare and attracted attention.

    In his ankle holster he carried his bolt pistol, which was of ordinary bolt pistol design apart from the fact it was his personal weapon, and as such it was far more beautiful than your mundane model. Thousands of years old, yet still working as well as the day it had been manufactured, it was completely pristine. He had admired it’s barrel’s intricate carvings that very morning, as he had sat in the armchair in his quarters and slowly loaded it. He had loaded fifteen of those big brass shells into the gun, each of them stamped with the mark of the Mechanicus of Mars. It was a ritual he did every time he went out alone, it gave him strength.

    There was also of course his weapon of last resort, the digital weapon, a toxin filled dartgun hidden in his ring. He had never actually used it in anger previously, it was always there as his reassuring ace in the hole. And in the place he was now, he was most definitely thankful for it.

    As he stalked through the gang areas, he took in the myriad ganger styles of clothing and decoration. Despite the large variation in adornments one thing was constant, everyone carried a weapon, probably to not do so would invite attack. The gangers were indeed an intimidating looking lot, he considered while a ganger with spiked shoulder guards and a rather outsize club watched him curiously pass by. Then again, he realised that he too must carry as a rather mysterious and intimidating figure, being a large black robed figure carrying a very large axe. Watching another ganger, this one pawing at a long hunting rifle, he realised another constant. These people were all very pale, and usually dirty. Living down here with these reduced lighting levels, people must rarely ever see actual sunlight.

    He turned a corner and at last found a sight that truly interested him, in this ‘street’ a burned out Rhino lay in the wreckage of a building. He stopped and analysed it, this must have been where the Arbites got to with their last drive into the underhive. The Rhino had clearly been stopped with a missile that tore a large gash down it’s side and destroyed it’s engine compartment. A series of pitted gaps across the front however piqued his curiosity….concentrated las-rifle fire? Missile launchers and lasrifles was very wrong, most gangers made do with a few autoguns and a smattering of lasrifles. No, this was most definitely odd.

    His attention was finally drawn from the wreckage by a ganger moving along the street. The ganger wasn’t particularly interesting, a dirty haired reprobate wearing mesh armour, but his weapon selection was. He carried a chainsword and a new-looking (which alone was unusual here) combat shotgun, carrying the Imperial Eagle. This clearly was a formerly judge’s weapon, and carrying it on open display was an affront to the office. The ganger turned into a side alley, and Landros sped up to follow before he escaped from sight.

    Once in the alley however, he realised that attempting to tail this man was a mistake. The alley was long and deserted, completely devoid of cover. Trying to be discrete behind someone in a large black enveloping robe was going to be an obvious mistake. Following the man was out, so Landros decided the best course of action would be to ‘interrogate’ the man right here when the opportunity arose. Ahead the ganger turned his head slightly, and then sped up. Landros sped up his pace correspondingly.

    Suddenly the ganger turned, starting up his chainsword and swaggering aggressively back towards Landros.

    “What do you want then, you big spooky freak?? he shouted and swung his chainsword contemptuously in a high arc near the Inquisitor’s head.

    Landros allowed his cloak to billow up as he ducked agilely and activated his power-axe. When the ganger reversed his sweep, Landros parried it with the axe and cut right through the chainsword at the hilt. As the man stood shocked at the loss of his weapon, Landros expertly landed a blow on the man’s nose and was pleased to hear a satisfying crunching sound. The man crumpled to the floor, and the Inquisitor quickly removed him of his combat shotgun. Landros shouldered his axe and stooped to pull out his bolt pistol. Interrogation time had begun.

    “Time for us to play a game of ‘give me a good reason not to shoot you’. Tell me everything you know about the Skuld and Kroleus and you get to live?

    The man stared wide eyed.
    “Don’t you know who I am? I’m protected, you can’t touch me, they’ll kill you?

    Definitely a wrong answer.

    “Time to play ‘lets test my pain threshold’ first I suspect?

    He took his heavy steel toe-capped boot and kicked the man hard in the knee cap. The resulting odd angle of the man’s knee and the noise the man made told him his point was well made.

    “The Skuld and Kroleus?? he asked again.

    “Who are you?? the man asked, very quietly now, between the blood pouring from his nose.

    “Clearly my point is not yet made? Landros replied and placed his bolt pistol on the ganger’s foot.

    “First shot blows your foot off, second is in your head unless you start behaving? The man though was obviously already beat, the threat now was just a gesture.

    “Ok, ok already, what do you want to know? I’m in gang Skuld, my mothers in gang Skuld, my cousins are in gang Skuld, everyone’s in gang Skuld! Hell, I thought you were in gang Skuld at first?

    “Tell me about Kroleus then? Where can I find him?? Landros asked, very patiently now.

    “I don’t know where to find him….noone does!? the ganger answered, panic in his eyes.

    “Your clearly from not around here. Skuld works like this, all the gangers are in Skuld, but we do what we like and earn a share of Skuld profits. If anyone else tries to compete with us, Kroleus’s men turn up and dish out the weapons to the man in the street. That way we have a load of numbers and they give us all best weapons?

    “What about the judges?? Landros asked.

    “Recently he’s had us fighting them too, word has it we’re going to take over the running properly. Like magic, every time before the judges attack, a load of big crawlers come about and start dispensing weapons to the gangers. That way we’re nice and prepared and dug in whenever the judges try and come down here?.

    “Do these crawlers or weapons bare any marks? How do you recognise Kroleus’s men? And what about attacks on the rest of the hive??

    “Slow down, slow down. The crawlers are unmarked, and the weapons are mostly las-rifles with no marks either. The attacks on the rest of the hive will be done by Kroleus’s men. See there’s us normal gangers who don’t do much but fight for him, and there’s Kroleus’s men, they’re acting on his personal orders. You can recognise them by the fact they all wear the same brown clothes and the fact they walk down here with no weapons. They’re the only people protected enough to do that. They’ll know where Kroleus is, noone else does?

    “Nearly my last question then, my dear fellow? Landros asked eagerly. “Where can I find some of these men??

    “To tell you the truth, they usually just come to us, we don’t get to contact them?, the ganger spotted the unpleasant gleam in the Inquisitor’s eye, and gulped.

    “But my cousin, he said that he heard there’s a few of them been seen hanging round Bheinn Morr, a bunch of ruins a couple of hours crawler ride from the hive. You could go there and you might find them?

    “Thank you my friend, now one very last question….where did you get that shotgun? Answer me honestly and you might survive this meeting?

    The ganger paused as if considering whether to lie or not.

    “….I scavenged it from a pile of rubble where a judge had dropped it after the last battle. I didn’t actually do any fighting, I’m just an opiatrix dealer, it’s not profitable to get killed. I told everyone that I killed a judge for it, but I lied to them?

    The man’s nose had stopped bleeding, and he looked up at the Inquisitor looking a little more defiant than he had for a while.

    “Well, what’s to become of me then??

    “Thank you, that’s one of the few answers where you live till the end of the day. You may go, but I will keep the shotgun of course. Tell everyone where you really got it from and renounce your association with the Skuld, and you might even live out the week. I don’t expect you to do so, but at the least I have given you the opportunity?.

    Landros stooped down and put the shotgun under his arm, and strolled away from the astonished man down the alley. He was already voxing his request to Rasal for a suitable vehicle.

    3 Hours Later – Bheinn Morr Ruins – Cibinal Planetary Surface

    The information he had indicated that the ruins were over the next rise. He was glad the binary Cibinal system allowed 15 hour light at a time, otherwise he could have been worried about the dark. He had considered contacting the Inquisition Fortress or the Divine Rule for a detachment of stormtroopers, but had decided against it. He didn’t want to provoke too much of a response too early. This was a job better done incognito and that, he said to himself, was why he had parked his vehicle out of sight and was hiking his way through this infernal dustbowl. He had checked no dust-storms were predicted before setting out, but was still aware of the possibility of being trapped out here on foot when one arose. Apparently people who are caught outside when one arrives are simply never seen again. Still, as a loyal servant of the Emperor he had nothing to fear.

    As he finally trudged to the peak of the rise, he was quite unprepared for the sight that awaited him. He hit the dirt and surveyed the scene before him. The word ‘ruins’, wasn’t really applicable to what he saw, it was rather more like a quarry. A large cavernous pit was open in the ground, with various earthmoving vehicles at parked within a fenced perimeter. He couldn’t see any sign of ruined buildings, or anything like a construction. There was though something that looked like minehead open in the centre of the pit. Quite why they were bulldozing ancient ruins, or why a gang leader was interested in ancient ruins was both beyond him and worrying. He though back to the rumours about Archaeotech, there was lots of stuff on old hive worlds usually. It could easily be stuff from the Dark age of technology, or even perhaps worryingly Eldar. There did not seem to be any activity from any of the vehicles currently parked however.

    Movement in the periphery of his vision drew his attention, and he turned his head to the nearby perimeter fencing. A pair of men were walking along the tall fence, moving just past his position and away from them. Moving silently down the rise, he followed close behind them, clearly they were a picket. Tellingly, they both wore the same dun coloured civilian clothing and carried no obvious weapons. The fact that they showed no weapons did not for one second cause him to believe they were unarmed. Their appearance was probably considered so that they would not fit any offender appearance profile that the Arbites would have ( being unarmed civilians). There was something else about these men he noticed, something you could only gather from a lifetime in the Emperor’s service. The professional manner in which they held themselves, the way they did not chatter idly, the way they walked in the previous patrols footsteps. These men were not gangers, but professional soldiers.

    He decided it was time to do what he came to do. Even the best men could be fooled by a simple trick. He picked up a nearby rock and threw it hard at the fence. Hearing the sudden noise as the wire was impacted, the men around and looked at the source of the noise. Landros quickly leaped up behind them, and ****ed his bolt pistol loudly.

    “Raise your hands if you want to live? he commanded, and the two men went rigid and raised their hands.

    He closed with the two men and pushed his gun against one of the men’s back. Interrogation time was here again he decided.

    “So, I gather you men work for Kroleus?? he enquired. No answer was forthcomng.

    “Where can I find him?? he tried again forcefully.

    “He’s in there? answered the guard, pointing to a building diagonally behind him.

    Landros turned his body to look at the building, aiming his bolt pistol away from the man’s back. The man swiftly took the opportunity he had been waiting for and span on the spot, knocking Landros’s Bolt pistol away from him with his outstretched arm. As one the two men started reaching for weapons concealed under their shirts, and seeing the danger he leapt away from the pair, trying to open up some ground before they fired. He heard the distinctive crack of a las-bolt hit behind him, and he jumped to the ground, turning in mid-air. The two men were now brandishing las-pistols and taking aim to kill him.

    Desperately he rolled left to snatch up his weapon again, as the cracks of another two las-bolts sounded. Looking up, he fired a bolt back, the thunderous boom of the bolt-pistol sounding ridiculously loud compared to the lasweapons. One of the men went to the ground, while the other stood upright to gain a killing shot. Given such an easy target the Inquisitor let his training take over and fired again instinctively, taking the man in the upper chest with a round. The mass-reactive bolt almost annihilated the man, blowing his ribcage open and leaving his neck with his head almost severed, hanging like a rag doll.

    The man’s partner was lying low near the fence, using Landros’s example and making himself a small target. The man was fumbling with something and Landros realised he had taken out a frag grenade. Taking his chance, the Inquisitor stood and sprinted towards his opponent to get a clear shot. Realising he had left an opening, the man dropped the grenade and reached out hastily with his pistol again, getting a single las-bolt off. As the Inquisitor got to a clear line of fire at the prone man, he felt the las-bolt take him in the shoulder. The Emperor’s providence was with him though, and his carapace armour defeated the round. He returned fire, and his carefully aimed reply took the man in the head.

    He stood up and dusted himself down, ruefully regarding the hole in his cloak from the las-round. Even the best men could be fooled with a simple trick indeed. He dusted down his bolt pistol and returned it to his holster before going to regard the two men. He walked to the closest man, who was lying like a gutted fist on his back from the bolt round to the chest. He quickly took stock of his possessions, the man carried a las-pistol that carried the Imperial seal, two frag grenades with the Imperial seal, wore a pair of military assault boots and wore a vest of flak armour underneath his shirt. As Landros inspected the man’s ID, he already had a sinking feeling of what he was inevitably going to find. His suspicions were quickly confirmed, the man’s identification marked him as a member of the PDF. He quickly dragged the two men over the rise and out of sight of any passing patrols, before wiping away any incriminating footprints. He was counting on them being covered by a dust-storm before their discovery. He made his return to the crawler, considering what his next course of action should be.

    The plot had thickened.

    5 Hours Later – Inquisitor Landros’s Quarters – The Governor’s Palace

    “….and then Rasal I discovered I was correct, the men were members of the PDF. I returned here immediately, it has been a very long day. Such a pity, I had really wanted to question them?

    The inquisitor put his feet from the back of the high chair to await the response of his acolyte. The explanation had taken long enough to finish, but now they had to puzzle the response.

    “Your sure Inquisitor? The PDF, that means someone in the planetary government is behind all this. It implicates at the very least the regimental commander and the corresponding local Departmento Munitorum representative at the very least?

    “More importantly, it puts the loyalty of the local PDF in doubt. It does however explain the how, all we need to is figure out now is the who and more importantly the why. We’re no closer to discovering the purpose behind this gang Skuld conspiracy, if someone wanted a mere uprising they would start corrupting the upper hive foremost, not the under hive. No, there is something going on here that we’re still not seeing. And what are they digging for at Bheinn Morr??

    The two men sat silently in the room contemplating the developments before them, trying to see any possible links between the facts they had and any possible scenarios they could imagine.

    “What are you going to do?? Rasal asked finally, his eyes fixed squarely upon Landros.

    “Well, it has been a long day my friend and I’m ready for bed already. However, we cannot be impolitic in the face of this conspiracy, I’m going to surprise the Governor and accept his invitation for dinner with the local hobnobs. It’s very simple Rasal, I’m going to go fishing. Make the usual preparations, and we’d better let someone know of the situation, contact fleet station Agrippa and tell them to send a ship to back us up, even if it will be another two weeks before they get here. We can blockade Cibinal with the Divine Rule and the Strike Cruiser, but it’s best to keep the Imperium informed. Talking of which, I think I’ll go straight to the marines after this, let them know what I’m upto. Oh, and remember to make yourself scarce Rasal, best get yourself out of here within the hour. Thanks again my friend?

    With that he reached into a drawer in his room and selected a small silvery boxy device, which he activated starting a red flashing light. He placed the object into his pocket, nodded to Rasal, and then made his leave.?

    90 Minutes Later – The Governor’s Dining Room – The Governor’s Palace

    Landros sat and observed the other faces around the Governor’s table who had joined him. There was the familiar podgy red cheeks of the Governor at the head of the long rectangular table of course (to Landros’s left), and the other lower dignitaries around him. As the current Inquisitorial envoy Landros has one of the most prized seats next to the Governor, a seat he was acutely aware had previously been Jomas’s. Behind the governor stood the grey haired hawkish Bogdan, standing watch in his familiar grey uniform. Sat opposite him was a man named Yalvos, who was representative of the local Planetary Defence Force. He was not an soldier himself though, just a petty local ambassador. To Landros right sat Faergus, the familiar precinct Lord of the Adeptus Arbites, still wearing the distinctive black leather uniform. He took note of the other local envoys, a Techpriest of the Adeptus Mechanicus, a priest of the Adeptus Ministorum and dignitaries of various other lower offices.

    He tuned back in to the current conversation, he had had enough of the food laid before him. Yalvos, a bearded man with a craggy lined face was discussing a matter with the rest of the table.

    “…and current force projections indicate that the required 45% increase is nearly finished. We will have tanks driving through the under hive before the week is out?

    Faergus nodded to this and replied, “Good, we would not want this break to allow the Skuld to get too dug in, the longer we wait the harder it will be to remove them?

    The Governor Vebin appeared to be appreciative of this sentiment, and turned to Landros at his side.

    “You’ve been quiet through all of this my friend, tell us how does your investigation go?? he motioned.

    “It goes well my Lord, I have gained a clear insight into what has been taking place here? he replied, deliberately sounding non-committal. The Governor looked puzzled at this statement and started mopping his forehead with a hankerchief in his distinctive style.

    “Oh good, then perhaps you can give us your initial conclusions into how we’re going to get on that damn Kroleus? asked the Governor, who’s face was lined with curiosity.

    Landros composed himself, and decided now was the opportunity he was waiting for.

    “Kroleus is only part of the conspiracy, I have gained concrete evidence that the Planetary Defence Forces are behind Gang Skuld. In the next few hours I will receive from a source the name of who is engineering the situation on Cibinal, and will act accordingly?

    There was shocked silence around the table, but it was a wide-eyed Yavlos who found his voice first.

    “This is….unbelievable. The Planetary Defence Forces are completely loyal, I can’t believe they would act in this manner?

    “They are though, but not for much longer. They also supplied the weapons that defeated the Arbites. The man who is issuing their orders will soon be known to me, and I will give him the Emperor’s justice?
    Yavlos considered these words, and decided further protest was useless.

    “I will launch a simultaneous internal investigation, and determine the location and disposition of the PDF forces. I will press for an immediate recall to barracks and head count Inquisitor for when you determine the head of this insurrection?

    “Is there anything I can do for you Inquisitor to further assist you?? the Governor interceded.

    “No, I have the matter well in hand Governor. It has been a long day anyway, I shall retire to my quarters tonight, I have a lot of work for tomorrow. I thank you for your hospitality?

    He rose from the table and left quickly, the sound of shocked discussion sounding out behind him.

    3 Hours Later – Inquisitor Landros’s Quarters – The Governor’s Palace

    The men moved silently through the corridors with that familiar bustle of professional soldiers, moving in the recommended ‘phalanx’ formation recommended by the manual of the Departmento Munitorum. They stopped at the correct door, and the team fanned out to assault positions. The lead two men wearing ballistic demolitions armour placed a breaching charge on the joint of the door, and held their hands in the air to signal the men behind them to crouch down. The silent group took cover, and with a startling bang the door blew inwards off it’s hinges.

    The second the door landed, the group of men stormed into the room, fanning out and covering each other professionally. Obeying the recommended pattern perfectly, the men each moved into their pre-assigned field of fire to neutralise any guards. On the bed ahead, the unmistakable silhouette of a man lay under the covers unmoving. The lead men fired into the unmoving form, and we’re rewarded by the familiar splat of blood that designated a kill. The men made the requisite hand signals that the room was clear, and the leader stepped forward to check the target was indeed dead. Standing next to the bed the man reached out to pull back the bedclothes and check on the target. Looking down he was greeted by the familiar dull, unsmiling features of a servitor.

    “Lets see who our culprit is then? said Landros as he monitored the feed from the servitor’s skull’s pict capture. The grainy static-laden image showed a man pulling the sheet off the servitor’s face.

    The leader of the group was clearly Bogdan.

    His grey-uniformed colleagues in the Governor’s personal guard were obviously not amused by the Inquisitor’s little prank, as the footage ended with the flash of lasgun fire.

    “Well now we know how high this conspiracy goes, all the way to the Governor? replied Rasal.

    Landros stood and considered quietly, while reaching into his pocket to remove the silver teleport homer he had used to escape the palace undetected. Around them the bridge crew of the Hammer of Woes carried out their duties with disinterest, it was not their responsibility. Their Commander Saul however was clearly interested, he had been studying the footage to discover the nature of their foe.

    “The heretics reveal themselves, it is our duty to return this world to the Emperor’s guiding light? he said aloud.

    “How many men do you have Commander?? the Inquisitor asked.

    “You have the entire third company of the Angels of Atonement. What do you desire us to you Inquisitor?? Saul replied.

    Landros got the uncanny feeling that last time Saul had been testing him, playing a part of the single-minded marine to get the Inquisitor to reveal more of his plan than had been required. His estimate of Saul had went up heavily in the last few seconds.

    “Let’s monitor signals and see if we can locate the Governor, and then we shall worry about trying to kill him.?

    “Commandeer, it also appears that vox communication is being jammed between us and the planet. It appears local security is preventing communications between the Arbites Precinct, the local Inquisition fortress and ourselves? reported a Techmarine.

    “We have some signals we have identified as being of the Governor’s personal guard? the Techmarine chimed in again.

    “However they are heavily encrypted, I’m feeding them into the logic engines. Initial estimates indicate we have 5 hours until the machine breaks the codes?

    “What are your requests till then Inquisitor?? asked Saul respectfully.

    “Well I don’t know about you, but I’m going to catch some sleep at last. We don’t know where the Governor is, realistically all we can do is wait. When we know, lets reconvene with proposals with an attack to remove him?

    4 Hours Later – Cibinal Primus Hive – Thoroughfare 89/A

    The convoy returning from the Governor’s palace entered the narrow winding street. It was a poor strategic choice but it was the most direct route between the precinct and the palace and cut the journey considerably. The Arbites crews were on high alert, their communications equipment had been blacked out for hours and they were unable to talk to their fortress precinct.

    The long convoy consisted of an intimidating looking Repressor with a large dozer blade, two Rhinos loaded with troops, a Rhino flying the pennants of the precinct lord, two more fully loaded Rhinos and a final Repressor. The crews watched their surroundings constantly looking for rebels lurking in the surrounding buildings.
    From one dark window a pair of eyes hungrily watched the black Arbites entering the narrow street. The professional spotter was counting the vehicles passing through below him. He was muttering under his breath as he did so.

    “One…two….three…FOUR? he counted and then pressed the button next to him.

    Buried below the street, the bundle of demolition charges heard the call from the detonator and obeyed perfectly, blowing the heart out from the middle of the convoy. The three central Rhinos were left as mere burning wreckage, there was no sign of any survivors scrambling from the wreckage.

    “Objective achieved sir?, he intoned into his vox and opened the door to leave, to immediately put some distance between himself and the scene. All over the planet, wheels were being put into motion at this eagerly awaited signal. Precinct Lord Faergus was dead.

    Last edited by Addoran; August 3rd, 2005 at 22:13.

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  3. #2
    Son of Dorn Sanctus's Avatar
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    Very good. I especially like the way the inquistitor handled the marines. Looking forward to the secnd part.
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