Only In Death Does Duty End

When it rains
From the pages of Zak's personal journal

Things just don’t get any better, do they. If we’re not hitch-hiking with pirates, being ambushed by traitors, or having an enforced holiday in Eldar care, then we’re presumed dead. Even better, we’ll have to stay that way that way until Hekate finds said traitors, and while she searches, we’re not getting paid, nor do we have our usual resources. The only upside so far? This planet does not smell as bad as the last one.

But not to worry, Rezrel has a plan. Which means any sane person would pack up their stuff and leave the sector with haste, while we … we try to make the plan less horrible, because, let’s face it, when Rezrel starts making plans, we’re out of other options a long time ago.

And so it has come to us creating a fake crime empire in the Samarian underground, giving ourselves a semi-steady platform from which to hunt The Gun-Duke. Flavion will be the face of our crime lord, with Rezrel, Maza and myself as his prime enforcers. I feel a headache coming on, and I suspect it will last for months to come…

The working notes of Rezrelian Rothsman

Therin lies a distraction. To catch a gunduke one must bait the line. Discretion is the better part of not getting shot for ignoring orders. Arbitration deemed untenuable. We sit in a taxi cogitating, discussing, considering, captivating my mind in a quints-point preference of plot and plan.

To catch a gun-duke, one must bait the line.

But what bait would suffice?

Where identities are better left in the dusk of an elder motel, pay by the soul, it is found to be most convenient to become a new thing. A new entity. CellCENSOREDREDACTED is to evolve and grow.

Initial problem : To approach the gun-duke within the guise of hte inquisition is to invite death.
Secondary problem : We’re meant to be missing presumed dead. As such anonymity is preferred.

Solution : Engage the gun-duke in terms that an inquisitorial retinue simply would never do. Ergo : Become antagonistic villains bent on reclaiming the streets from him.

In short? We take over the slums of his pretty little playground, distrupt his plans and engage him under the guise of criminals.

The untouchable is a problem. He knows our faces. We want him alive, but…dead will do.
Establish ourselves as a rival organisation. Use underground resources to target and remove his own network. Neutralise the untouchable, and then set up an ambush.


The Long Arm of the L.A.W.

.begin: document
.coding: ClxStd “KryptFour”
.priority: rubyThree
.date: 270907.M41
.path: PER MANUS


+ From: Inquisitor Hekate
+ To: cellThrysus

+ Following a few scraps of data salvaged from the ruins of the Abominatory, and some leads that developed from them, one of the retinue of the traitor Yvestris Zaro, the man known as the Gun-Duke, has been determined to be on the planet Vaxanide. Some follow-up investigation by cells Vanos and Juris (may the Emperor grant them peace) have placed this man in the city of Samarian, where he seems to have become involved in the endless street warfare that plagues the lower reaches of the city.

+ As he was known to be a close associate of Zaro it is to be assumed that he has some idea as to the location of his master, information the Inquisition requires if we are to bring him to the Emperor’s justice. Additionally, Zaro will almost certainly be keeping the pariah, Solis, close by. Therefore you are to locate the Gun-Duke and obtain this information from him by whatever means necessary. Having him able to answer other questions afterwards is to be considered a secondary priority.

+ A data-cancer left behind in the Inquisitorial archives and triggered after his excommunication means that we have very little information regarding Zaro or his coterie, but we have been able to gather that he is a viciously dangerous individual. An expert shot and deadly fighter, the Gun-Duke is known to use xenos firearms of unknown origin, probably obtained for him by Zaro. Be exceedingly cautious when approaching him.

+ As you know, there is a traitor in my retinue. Until I have determined their identity I must act as if I am unaware of their existence, and you must act as if their treachery was successful. Your cell is currently listed as “overdue”, but this status will soon change to “missing”. Your ability to use to Inquisitorial resources will be greatly reduced as a result, particularly as your presence on Vaxanide must remain a secret. The longer our enemy believes you to be dead, the better your chances of success.

+ This will be a difficult assignment for you, and I pray that the Emperor grant you stealth and success.

.signed: Inquisitor Inya Hekate
.auth: sigmaSix-alphaTen


Thought for the day: The traitor’s hand lies closer than you think

Everything is a test
From the letters of Zacharea von Pinn

From now on, everything is a test.

Those were the first official words said to us at the academy. It was early in the morning on our first day of training, most of us still rubbing the sleep out of our eyes. We didn’t think too much about those words then, didn’t give them much weight. Not that first day. After the first week we begun to understand. After the first month we had taken it to heart. Or, those of us who could had. Some of us never lived to learn.

It’s been a long while since our mission to Tsachar IV, and many of the details of those days has long since faded from my memory. But whenever I think about that mission, those first words from my training always comes back to me. Everything is a test.

The young Emali being offered to us by her father, scared witless by our presence. How would you handle this situation, recruit? I lost my temper then, just as I had back in training. No, I didn’t kill him. The Emperor knows I wanted to, and I put all that desire into the threats I offered him in return.

The meeting with the minister. How do you ensure cooperation from planetary officials, recruit? I never did well in those lessons, but he was too clever to order us arrested. Perhaps clever enough to see how much trouble arresting us would be. Oh, we were trouble then.

The historian. We are watching you, recruit. He was nice. He was helpful. He was eager, and innocent. Just like all the best informers. I could never get entirely comfortable around him, even when he didn’t deserve it.

Even the tower itself was more of the same. A different shape, colour, and smell, and yet the same. A carefully arranged crime scene to take apart. What do you see, recruit? Even the Flock was the same; a house guard remains a house guard, regardless of shape. A theft remains a theft, even when the object stolen is the Pandaemonium Codex.

The attack cutting us off practically came on cue. You must always be ready, recruit. I hadn’t been ready, and so our ship was lost to us. I was so angry, just like I was when I failed a test in the academy. Anger would postpone the fear of the punishment. They were clever, our instructors. Our punishment for failing was never overt, and every one of us learned to fear them.

The Eldar coming to our rescue was the only thing to truly take me by surprise, but let’s be honest. When does meeting a xeno not feel like a test?

The Unkindness of Ravens

.begin: document
.coding: ClxStd “StegSeven”
.priority: topazFour
.date: 871906.M41
.path: CLX091870-CLX400801-IXNd9ae1-CLX247109


+ From: Inquisitor Hekate
+ To: cellThrysus

+ By the time you receive this message you should have been aboard the rogue trader vessel Queen Anne’s Revenge for seven months en route to Tsachar IV. As I am sure you are aware by now your passage is more than half-pirate. Thus, anything of importance or value that you find should be secured properly in the ward-containers sitting in the Pity of Angels’ hold.

+ The hunt for the renegade Zaro and his retinue continues – other cells are chasing down leads on Sepheris Secundis and Fenksworld as I write. As more data becomes available you will be informed.

+ What information is available regarding your destination has been enclosed with this message.

+ The Emperor protects.

.signed: Inquisitor Inya Hekate
.auth: sigmaSix-alphaTen


Thought for the day: A mind without purpose will wander in dark places

Maza's log, an excerpt
Subject: recent events

The warp taints everything.

We build. Oh, how we build, how we lay down systems and logistics and infrastructure, and how great are the things that grow from them, reflections of the Omnissiah in their divine complexity!

And always, the touch of the warp, perverting the work of every hand, turning effort to ruin and plans to chaos.

And now those that truck with this other side have plans. They mean to disrupt the very laws of space and time, to pervert the rules set down by the Omnissiah for Mankind to understand, use and exploit for the good of all. Oh, how they must hunger to see it all cast down, that divinely ordained order that stands against all their psychic filth!

It is said that no plan survives contact with the enemy. Very well, then. Let them have plans.

We shall be the Enemy.

Ascension and death.
From a partially incinerated parchment

Specificity is a special kind of word. It’s often used in arcane and uncommon works such as Markhams classification of Daemonic beings. It’s used to describe horrors in such a way as to make them manageable. There’s an entire vocabulary of words like it. Proportional is another, comparative a third. A lexicon for turning immutable truth into something palatable. The inquisition has all the time in the world for details, all the time in all the worlds for specificity. 3 months of boredom and wasted time whilst they explored every nuance of events. They tested for the taint in so many ways but all the only ones that matter. All the qualities that are cherished in the inquisition were ignored, all the best traits in a servant of man excused. Ambition, loyalty, duty to a cause. Do they not understand that these things are the perfect host for infection? I sit here now, composing this that I will shortly consign to the fire, to ash. Recently I have…sought to excel at my duty. To be teh best, to be seen as the best. To accomplish great things, no matter the cost. I have sought power. I have sought the role of inquisitor. This desire, is it to serve mankind, or be free of it? Zak still watches me, in all that I do. Do I seek to bind her to my service for all our lives, or to end hers and live myself, as rogue but free? I know not, merely that I know myself, and my ambition wanders across bloodlust and carnal desire. I want it, I need it. But why?

And why now?

No Pressure
From the pages of Zak's personal journal

Rezrel is acting stranger than usual.

Hah. I’m trapped in an icy tomb where secrets come to die. All the other acolytes that came to this place to partake in the ceremony are dead, killed by the heretic tech priest that was bound to maintain this place. Something has escaped from Deep Storage, will likely hunt us soon, and the only weapons we have to protect us are the Emperor’s cock and balls. This entire place has been sanctioned and will be displaced into the Warp in mere hours. We’ve been briefly pulled away and shown a future where Enri has eaten every star in this sector, a future we alone can prevent.

For all that, this is my first thought when I finally find a moment to put some words down:

Rezrel is acting stranger than usual.

But Rezrel is acting stranger than usual. There is a sharp madness about him. Madness, but not. He lectures me about duty. Me. Not long ago I would have thought him taunting me, trying to make me beat him again, claiming the small victory of making me lose control. I knew that was a game, and I played it willingly. But this … this is new. If this is a new game, all I can do is watch him until I learn the rules.

Totally a date

Sometimes my fellow acolytes just DON’T get it. This is a reward. So I say, let’s be rewarded.

Gale’s a fun gal, she is. They all are really. Fun people. I like this mission. There was some drama with the priest over some stupid principle or something but whatever, Gales swell. I wonder if she likes ginger Dwarves. Well, I could always convince her I suppose.

We are the best in bed after all.

Yup. Then the priest broke the lift or something. More quality time with Gale coming up it seems. Excellent. What could possibly go wrong?

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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