Only In Death Does Duty End

On Glass and Symbols
From the pages of Zak's personal journal

The crane brings a slab of etched glass before me, and I think about the things that have brought me here, to this cold place, in these uncomfortable clothes. I think about the slaughter done to prevent the message being delivered. I think about how near death we came, how many times we could have died, could have failed. I think about the purge of the Abominatory, and I think about those who got away. The renegade inquisitor. Solis the pariah. Arka13 the heretek biologis. The Gun-Duke.

I think about all this, and I look at the glass. At the heretical knowledge etched into it. I think, I see, and I understand that the glass in front of me is a symbol of it all. A symbol of all the things wrong in this world. A symbol given to me to destroy.

I destroy it with all the passion it deserves.

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Topic: Worth

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Once your perspective is wide enough, you reach a fundamental realization: Worth is determined by one thing, and one thing alone.

It is not subject to the whims of the marketplace. It is not determined by what any one given person is willing to pay for something. It does not lie within the object itself, nor in the mind of he who contemplates it.

The one thing that determines worth is simply this: The harder it is to replace a thing, the more precious it is.

Common things, thus, found everywhere in the Imperium, have very little worth, as it is trivially easy to replace them if they become broken, lost, dead or defunct. Even humanity itself is not of great concern – of course it is a tragedy when a citizen of the Imperium is lost, but we can all take comfort in the knowledge that new citizen can be created by unskilled labour. No great expensive and high-maintenance infrastructure is needed – simply the insertion of Tab A into Slot B. The rest of the assembly then proceeds automatically.

But what if there were a thing that could not be replaced? What of something so unique that nothing could ever work in its place? What can be the price of the one-of-a-kind? Is there a fair price for a miracle?

Surely such things are beyond price.

And if such a thing were to be destroyed…what price, then, is to be exacted from the culprit? What cost can be levied upon he who wrought such destruction? It is written that the punishment must fit the crime, but when that crime is infinite, then all thoughts of matching it fail, and all justice is a mockery.

Oh, to have hands stained with blood. Oh, to have the blood of a hundred innocents on my hands, a thousand!

That I could answer.

This I cannot.

\\entry ends

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Best Served Cold

.begin: document
.coding: ClxStd “KryptTwo”
.priority: rubyThree
.date: 107906.M41
.path: CLX002703-CLX179004-CLX471209-SecSibComm

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+ From: Castellan Xianqo
+ For: Inquisitor Hekate
+ To: cellThrysus

+ I am directed to convey the thanks and appreciation of Inquisitor Fehrrel for your services immediately prior to and during your temporary secondment to his cadre. He especially commends your forthrightness and dedication to duty during the events of the raid on the Abominatory. Unfortunately, word of Inquisitorial activities within Hive Sibellius reached the targets of your previous mission and all hope of a clean sweep of the city has gone for the time being as they have gone to ground. Inquisitor Hekate approves of your actions and understands their necessity; no blame or fault accrues to you because of them.

+ Your period of recuperation in the Solvig estate at Grigori Spire is now over, and the Inquisition has need of your services once again.

+ In the outermost reaches of the Scintilla system, within the belt of ice and rock fragments that surrounds its central star, lies Oubliette-781 – a data-crypt. Restricted, proscribed and dangerous information or artefacts that have been deemed no longer relevant or timely under the findings of the Conclave of Tsiorov are transferred to the facility’s info-tombs and storage vaults, and then purged from regular Inquisitorial systems. Due to the nature of this transfer it must be done physically.

+ Each decade all Inquisitors that operate primarily within the Golgenna Reach send trusted Acolytes to complete this process on their behalf. I have the pleasure to inform you that, in light of your recent efforts, this honour has fallen to cell Thrysus.

+ Therefore you are to take the fast lander “Faith’s Final Burden”, currently residing at the Sibellius spaceport, into orbit, there to rendezvous with the carrack “Parable of the Empty Vessel”. Once aboard the crew will convey you to the facility, a journey of some 307 hours. During this journey you are to familiarise yourself with the ceremonies and rituals of the internment. Please be aware that you will be acting as Inquisitor Hekate’s representatives on Oubliette-781 and as such your actions will reflect upon her.

+ Upon completion of your assignment you are to return to the cruiser “Scourge of Damnation”, which will be in-system by this time.

+ The Emperor guide you.

.signed: Castellan Simon Xianqo
.auth: deltaFour-chiNine

+ Note: Prior to your departure you should obtain dress regalia made out with Inquisitor Hekate’s insignia. I would recommend the clothier Suzan Hollos at the Grigori Spire commercia – she has dealt with such requests in the past and fully understands our need for discretion. It would also serve you well to ensure that any clothing so obtained is warm.

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Thought for the day: A questioning servant is more dangerous than an ignorant heretic.

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The twin conceits of death and demise

It took me months. I searched every low rent hab and market in the bloody hive. It took more than a few psyker tricks and a not insignificant amount of charm and favours to find him.

But I did. The sun was setting when I approached him. I could feel the minders 4 streets away. It took me another 2 weeks after finding him to get an invitation. Even I knew not to just walk up to him and demand a gun. Some people just don’t see past the short stature, or the ginger hair…or well the fact I’m a freak against nature I guess. That’s probably more to do with it.

I wanted something special, something me. Something new, something powerful, strong, bold, quiet, deadly. I wanted death in a barrel, I wanted so very much. He, I found, could provide everything.

We started with the proportions. My hands are bigger than Zak’s. The bones in my right hand have been repeatedly broken over the years, leaving my hand functional but mishapen. The grip is different, slightly, molded to me. For the first time in a long time, i felt comfort in the heft of silver and steel.

Every week I returned, we practised, he showed me prototypes, asked me questions. Lighter, heavier? A stronger recoil for more stopping power. Do I ever use it one-handed, what do I hunt? Who do I kill. Am i a good shot, do I tend for killing blows or wounding shots…the questions went on, seemingly with little reference to what I understand is the making of a good gun.

I suspect, this is why he is the master, and I am just a user. I don’t think there’s any shame in admitting I am addicted to this weapon. Duskstinger we called it. Dawnstinger her twin, the cannon for Zak. Finished in matt blue and black, 6kg of weight, 3 chambers, 15 rounds. Each bullet passing through a custom built toxic reservoir. Rifled, Deadly accurate.

Now I have a weapon to duel the gun-duke. Now i have a gun to take down the heretic, to destroy the xenos. Now I have a weapon that truly matches the elegance of the warp within me. Beauty and destruction incarnate. It was worth every throne.

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In fire, In fury, In failure.
Scribbles and scrobbles.

The pariah got away. I consider this a personal failure. A personal black mark. I want him. I need him.

We all have our plans, the inquisition needs to know what he knows, and his power, invaluable.

The inquisitor escaped the fires, taking his personal retinue with him, abandoning his others to the fury of the inquisition, the arbites and the pdf. Would Hekate flee in such a manner, I wonder?

I doubt it. She would fight.

I hope. I Would, I think. I am no stranger to violence after all.

This Eko intrigues me. The gun-duke. An intriguing title. I desire it. I am better than almost anyone with a pistol. Perhaps he is better. I would like to see that.

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If I doubt, then I fall.
Musings of a freak

Doubt is one constant within a psykers life, they say. The black ships…they said…

Well, I don’t even want to think about that. Suffice to say, up there in the great black wilderness of the galaxy there was once an instructor, a man. A brutal man who taught me to doubt is to fall. But…everything about my life is doubt. I doubt my sanity, my safety, the sanctity of life and my very own purity.

I doubt our purpose, our process. I doubt the course of hte inquisition, of the imperium of man. Without doubt I say, there is no faith. We entered the spire with hopes of disguise, subterfuge and strategy. Planning to gain access to house corrida with the minimum of direct fuss. I didn’t even fuck with the dickfaced ballsack of a clerk when purchasing, legitimately, I add, the expensive clothing required. All for fucking nothing because we walk out and bam. Explosions and fury.

It hurts. The world, I do not doubt that. I have no faith in pain, I know it, intimiately. I know.

Knowledge is power. Knowledge is the weapon the inquisition uses against its enemies. Knowledge is the weapon I use to protect myself from, well myself. Falling hurts. But if I had any doubt that we were doing the right thing. If i was at all hesitant about involving ourselves in some kind of inquisitorial conflict, and about what side is the right side. The horror i witnessed then, after murder, death and loud bright noises was…well. I have no doubt now. This message must go to Corrida, to the inquisitor. We must bring light to the heresy of our purserers. We must end them. As Zak always says to me. “Sometimes doing the right thing means people die. Let’s make sure the right people die.”

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Coming to Xylathene
From the pages of Zak's personal journal

We arrived at Xylathene Spire, harried and looking like beggars. I took in the sight of opulence, of no cost spared, of good resources wasted on pointless luxury.

We chose a shop to provide us with a disguise for our entry to house Corrida. The shopkeeper judged us by our appearance. The temptation to familarise him with the arsenal hidden under our grubby cloaks was tempered only by the number of unnecessary deaths already in our wake.

They came for us as we sought to rejoin with the priest, his search for a disguise taking him down a different path. They came for us in this tower of glass, where there is no place to hide. I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same.

They tried to take out our most potent weapon by shooting him in the head. I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same. I, however, would have made sure not to fail.

They tried taking the very ground from under our feet, in their efforts to hunt, to kill, to stop us from delivering the message. They underestimated the fury driving us, and so, in that, too, they failed.

We underestimated the heresy driving them. The last of their number chose to end her own life rather than facing our wrath. I can’t blame her. I can and will blame her for the thing that came in her place, using her body to come into this world. I have no name for it, it grew until the glass underneath shattered, letting it fall towards the unseen depths of the hive.

“Millions will die,” the messenger told us. Whatever doubts we may have had, they are gone now. We are delivering this message, and may the Emperor have mercy on anyone standing in our way.

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Making mistakes
From the pages of Zak's personal journal

Whatever happens, don’t let it stress you out. When you’re stressed out, you make mistakes.

Those are not my instructor’s exact words, but they are the gist of it. It’s one of those lessons you don’t learn from the words, only from doing.

I’m learning.

I got stressed out. I should be used to people shooting at me by now, and I guess I am. I’m not used to people shooting others to get at me, and my reaction was to fall into old habits. I chose our taxi pilot on old, flawed, misplaced assumptions. By the time I realised it was already too late.

I spent the flight trying to think of a solution. Anything. Anything other than the obvious. Those hunting us have carelessly wasted too many innocent lives already. Saving this one, just this one, would be the tiniest beginning to balancing the scales.

But seventy minutes is not enough, and as the taxi touched down on the landing platform there were still no better options. So we took the only one we had, together. Rezrel ensured there would be no screams. Maza made his death plausible. And I… I made sure I would never forget.

Never forget what we had to do.

Never forget who and what we are working for.

Never forget that our enemy has crossed a line, and dragged us down with them.

I won’t make such a mistake again. When I make a mistake, people die. That is my reality now, and my only regret is that it took me so long to learn. That it took a life to learn.

My only task now is to make sure his life and his death was not wasted.

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Sacrifice
Thoughts from a freak

I say “I think”, a lot. Mostly this is to disguise an air of superiority. To cover up the fact that generally speaking I don’t think. I know. Yet to state so much to others implies arrogance, a sense of greater self worth. A sense of being transcendant. Sometimes my calling requires this. Being a psyker is as much about manipulation as it is about power. Being a psyker is as much about manipulation as it is about power.

I despise this truth, and with it I despise myself a student of the schools of mental control. I can’t smash tanks with my mind, or grow adamantien claws that can slash through power armour. I have no skills at fire or wind. What do I do? I bend men. I break them. I take them and leave them ruined husks.

All in the name of the emperor. All in his service. Right? All in the name of duty to the inquisition and in the name of honour, blood and war. In the name of Hekate. Today I broke an innocent man. I took him, his form, I ripped into his skull and tore apart his meagre little defences as if taking a power sword to paper. I, the great wonderful inquisitorial acolyte. The fantastic agent of truth and justice, pursueror and destroyer of daemons and all their insipid malignant tumours upon the blessed face of our emperors galaxy. The emperor protects.

The emperor did not protect the man I condemned to death today. A man, a servant, simply fulfilling his part within the hive. A pilot who had the unfortunate temerity to be the best of the bunch. The emperor did not protect him when I sent the priest to sabotage his vessel. The emperor did not protect him when I took possession of every muscle and fibre in his body and marched him to the precipice and WHEN that ship fails as it flies I can only pray above something inconsequential and uninhabited the emperor will not protect him from the fall.

I protected myself. I protected ObsidianSix from a point of weakness. I was careful. Security minded. I took care of a potential problem. I killed a man in cold blood and I rationalise it with reason and logic and presumptions about what might of happened when he went back to be questioned by the enemy.

I protected my fellow acolytes from a maybe. A possibly. A potentially. I removed a risk. That’s all he was. A potential risk. I have killed many men. I have ended the lives of traitors and heretics. I have snuffed the essence from so many cowardly mindless freaks of nature that I have lost count.

But this is the first life I have taken who did not deserve it. This is the first martyr I have made.

I pray to the emperor for it to be the last but I hold little hope. The emperor seems to be doing little for the common folk in this corner of his grand Imperium.

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As it fell
Brief thoughts running through Zak's head

How many people were on that train when it fell?

Too many.

How much pain exists in the universe?

Not enough for justice.

I don’t know who you are. Not yet. But I promise you this: I will find you. I cannot make this right, but I will find you, and I will try.

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