Only In Death Does Duty End

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.

TITLE: $displaydate
Log dump > ext.pipe.output "mazablaska"

>plaintext follows

The practice of stakeout, I have learned, is exceedingly unproductive, depending as it does wholly on the actions of those other than one’s self, individuals who, it must be pointed out, are not motivated to act in ways that benefit you and would actively hinder you if they knew you existed in anything other than the most abstract form, viz. “There are inquisitorial agents out there somewhere and they would hurt me if they knew of me, however they do not.”

This unwanted equilibrium had to be punctured. I did so by means of sending a message of exceeding ambiguity, one that allowed its recepients to read whatever threat their minds most feared written therein.

This, then, is what I did: I purchased a common Imperium charm of slightly debased iron, depicting the twin-headed eagles of the Adeptus Mechanicum and its siamese twin empire, and proceeded, groping in the blessed dark of my ignorance on such matters, to turn it into a blasphemy.

I removed its heads and claws and replaced them, creating a curious inversion, and inscribed on it a symbol which I did not understand, but which I know to be of some significance to heretics and cultists of proscribed faiths.

The project completed, I then threw it at the gate of the heretic compound and retreated to the observation post, where posted I observed their reactions.

Then, of course, events went wholly off-course, and we are now on the run.

I am concerned.

We have had no contact with our immediate superiors since our assignment’s profile changed entirely from secret observation to a mad dash across thousands of kilometers of Hive, and though we are charged by an Inquisitor to deliver the data I safeguard, that Inquisitor is not Inquisitor Hekate.

We have no means of knowing whether she would approve of this, whether the information held so preciously close is some foul and base secret our impromptu recruiter would keep secret from his peers or vital pieces of a puzzle that will shed light on problems that have plagued their interrogators for decades. We do not know what goes before our actions. We cannot calculate the cost of our deeds in this concealed, clandestine economy of decisions.

We must establish contact.

We must remain hidden.

The horns of a dilemma have us. We writhe upon them, impaled as Savant Caobarach in the Garden of Induction. May we choose as well.

Not a day for hope
From the pages of Zak's personal journal

There was just nothing good about this day. While the stakeout was fine, as stakeouts go, there is only so many ways you can entertain yourself while sitting on your rear for hours on end. Entertaining yourself isn’t even really the problem; having to entertain a psyker overshadows it so thoroughly you wouldn’t even notice until hours or even days have passed.

There was the mishap with the bandage cleaners, where I learned things no mortal mind should know. The less said, the better.

At least our work bore fruit at last, and our mark led us, at high speed, to a gun fight. I have stopped being surprised about these things a long time ago. The priest took care of the dead man that hadn’t quite stopped walking, while the psyker and myself headed into the fray. The fight itself was rather uneventful, although it is becoming increasingly clear that whatever blessings were once placed on my Ironclaw have long since ran out. I must consider replacing it; it is but a tool, and a tool that does not serve its purpose anymore is not worthy of the name. A tool has no sentimental value.

Unfortunately, the started getting considerably worse when the dust settled, despite finding ourselves all alive. The psyker rifled through pockets, as his habit, and found the worst possible thing: Politics. We have been placed in an intra-inquisitor conflict. I’m a brute, not a politician. I do not have the stomach for such games.

Weary and wary we retreated to our post, where the priest relayed the last words of the dead man. As impossible as it seems, words that made the day worse yet.

I know the coding priorities by heart. There is only so long you can live with a stream of such things before you’re unable to forget. Even so, I felt the need to refer to my notes as the priest played the message back to us. The vaguest hope that maybe, just maybe, my mind was deceiving me.

It wasn’t.

obsidianSix was the word, and so the good times of our employment ended. We had limited supplies on hand, but did what we could. We needed out, and fast, and unseen. The uniform which I have at long last worn comfortable disappeared into my pack, replaced with a flea-market robe I would not wear unless to save my life. Today, walking unseen in the crowd could be what saved my life.

So I thought when we left the post, and so I lost myself in the crowds of the hive streets.

I don’t know how they found us. We may have been too slow, or too fast, or still too obvious as we moved. Thankfully we spotted them before they could hit us. The priest cleared out the crowd to give us fighting room. Good. Chainswords and crowds don’t mix. Not that crowds mix better with any of the other assorted weaponry we carry, but of all the things I have seen in my life, the quelling of a riot with chainswords is by far the most brutal. I would rather not repeat the experience.

And so we dispatched of our pursuers. Messily. Quickly. Again, their bodies barely hit the ground before the psyker was in their pockets.

I don’t hold with looting the bodies. Treating the dead as a street urchin would a found wallet seems so undignified. Naturally, I was surprised yet not the first time the psyker dived for the corpse of our newly fallen opponents. Perhaps relieved he did not actually eat it, like the scavenger he looked like at the time.

Yet… I took the chainsword. It’s a dangerous but useful weapon in the right hands, and we are going dangerous places. His hands would no longer need it. Leaving it behind would perhaps have placed it in a civillian’s hands; hands without the training needed to handle it. Better for everyone that it comes with me. I just hope I can find the time to refresh my training with it before I need it. It’s been a long time since the academy…

Shoot the Messenger

.begin: document
.coding: ClxStd “StegNine”
.priority: rubyFour
.date: 556905.M41
.path: SR003-intComm-CellBarr907


+ From: Inquisitor Hekate
+ To: cellThrysus

+ Within the lower-middle habzones of Hive Sibellius there are known to be a number of groupings of worshippers of the Ruinous Powers. One such coven has recently been located, within an abandoned section of hab 13-Alpha, beneath Tartagen Spire.

+ Standard procedure is to initiate a full purge, however I believe that the various covens within the Hive are in contact with each other and that cleansing one such cell will not have any long-term effect. The other covens would take up the slack and within a year it would be as if nothing had happened. Therefore I will not strike before I have located all, or a large majority, of the heretics’ bases within Hive Sibellius.

+ In the past such groups of heretics have used runners to deliver high-level messages between cells, rather than trusting the local communinet. Such a courier need not be a member of the coven, some of the more aware leaders will use local services to avoid attention. However, in the case of particularly sensitive and/or vital information this will not matter.

+ You are to observe this coven, intercept any such messages sent by it and acquire any information that the courier may have regarding the heretics. A concealed watch-post has been constructed close to the main entrance, and micro-oculars have been hidden close to the secret exits. You are to engage in combat with the heretics only in defence of your lives.

+ Further information and additional equipment has been placed aboard the fast lander “Faith’s Final Burden”, which will be ready to launch upon your receipt of this message.

+ The Emperor protects.

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


Thought for the day: Perseverance and silence are the highest virtues.

Everything is fine.

We went to see Inquisitor Hekate. We were told to kill Enri if opportunity arises in future missions. Everything is fine.


.begin: document
.coding: ClxStd “StegThree”
.priority: rubyTwo
.date: 535905.M41
.path: SR152-intComm-cellBarr907


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

+ The Inquisition thanks you for your service on Yvaigne. The loss of the data gathered by Brechter, as well as the cell itself, is regrettable. The destruction of the cultist cell was perhaps the best result possible given the circumstances.

+ Additionally, your actions during the Warp transit incident aboard the “Piety is its Own Reward” were noted by the ship’s crew and I am to pass on the thanks of her master to you. Your quick thinking and forthright action likely saved both the ship and the souls of all aboard her.

+ Inquisitor Hekate wishes to speak with you directly about your most recent experiences. Therefore you are to report to deck 7, bulkhead 38 no later than 537 for an audience.

+ The Emperor guide you.

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


Thought for the day: Blessed is the mind too small for doubt

a Maritime Misadventure
Worst things happen at sea?

Hey there! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

We’ve missed you, my friend. Place just isn’t the same without you. I know you’ve been away and all, but you should really try and stay in touch.

Let me just get you up to speed real quick.

See the short guy over there, bleeding all over the place like a philanthropist at a vampire charity event? He’s not actually that short, it’s just the way he’s hunched over that always makes him the one who has to look up to meet your eye. That’s Rezrel. He’s a psyker, they toy with things man was not meant to know. They’re not known for being well adjusted. He sure isn’t.

He’s just finished banishing a daemon. That’s not how it’s supposed to work, apparently, you’re not supposed to be able to just force one to go back home by raising your voice and threatening to thwack its knuckles with a ruler, but nobody told that to Rezrel, aparently, because that’s exactly what he did, and the daemon went right back to wherever daemons go.

Next to him, the guy who looks like the the bastard lovechild of an altar boy and a hardware store, with a face only a security camera could love? That’s Maza. He’s a techpriest, and he fixed the thing that makes daemons not come out and hollow you out from the inside so they can wear your skin like a tuxedo, or some other form of nastiness if they’re feeling inventive.

Zak is the really intense one with the gun. You might think that’s not a very good description, seeing as everyone has guns these days (hell, in the grim darkness of our modern world, there is only war, am I right?) but trust me when I say that if you walk into a room and Zak’s there, you will get the impression that she’s the only one with a gun. It might be because you’re looking at the business end. Zak’s a big believer in never pointing a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot, and she points that gun at everyone. Fair warning.

Last one’s Mala. Poor kid only signed on for this racket because it meant a few extra Thrones in her pocket every month. She’s going to wake up screaming every night for the next few months. She’s not with the Inquisition.

The Gang of Three fought through a horde of possessed corpses to reach the Gellar Repeater that was malfunctioning. Nobody told them to do it, they just did it because the daemons were there and they figured that maybe some of those oaths they swore when they joined up with the Inquisition actually meant something. A whole lot of people died, but it could have been a lot worse. In fact, the adjective “indescribable” just might cover how bad it could have been.

The Piety is Its Own Reward gets to fall through hell’s secret shortcuts between the stars for another day.

Nine Tenths of the Law

Aboard the Spire-class rogue trader vessel “Piety is its Own Reward”
Date: 011905.M41

M S O N . A L E R T . . . . . . . . . . . C R I M S O N . A L E R T . . . . . . . . . . . C R

L U R E . . . . . . . . . . . G E L L E R . F I E L D . F A I L U R E . . . . . . . . . . . G

Geller field failures detected at decks 87-89, 178 and 380-385. Breach teams are to assemble at bulkhead doors in full gear with wards and hexagrams.

This is not a drill.

Non-essential personnel are to remain at their stations. Crew bunkrooms have been sealed for the safety of the ship. Do not attempt to leave.

All passengers are to remain where they are. A ship’s officer will escort you to your quarters.

If you suspect a breach in your immediate vicinity strike the nearest Rune of Awakening to call for assistance.


Geller field failures detected at decks 87-89, 178 and 380-385. Breach teams are to assemble at bulkhead doors in full gear with wards and hexagrams.

This is not a drill.

M S O N . A L E R T . . . . . . . . . . . C R I M S O N . A L E R T . . . . . . . . . . . C R

L U R E . . . . . . . . . . . G E L L E R . F I E L D . F A I L U R E . . . . . . . . . . . G

Who are we? We're the good guys.

There are few things in this world that I fear. I respect Zak. I respect the end of her gun. I respect the fact that someday, maybe even soon It may be the last thing I see. But I do not fear it. I respect the priest. He and his machinations are beyond my ken, as if like magic he tinkers and toys with the machines of man. I respect him and his cult. But they are not of the magos, they are not of the warp or of His ilk. No. I respect but do not fear.

The Emperor, I fear. Having seen deep into him upon my sanction. Inya Hekate I fear, her skill and art of such sublime power that it is wise to tremble before her, lest hubris strike. And finally, Enri of the golden mask I fear.

Of course we know his intervention was inevitable, surprise did not grip me upon his appearance. Just fear. Even though my most trusted friends Zak and Maza wielded high death upon foes before me, I had little confidence if it came to that they’d do much more than heat my corpse as their efforts splashed harmlessly against him to the glow of my boneless corpse. Oh yes. the guards death before was most definitely of Enri’s design, to which he expressed ownership. Banter proceeded, seeking of intentions revealed, as expected, little. He wanted the pilgrims of Hayte removed. He professed innocencein relations to Brechter, although his involvement seems likely since we spotted him there and he evaded any questions on that subject. I file that Enri is our most likely suspect for the destruction and removal of Observation cell codenamed Brechter.

An enemy of our Mistress, of course would be no fool…Well. That’s I suppose a matter of interpretation. Anyone whom is an enemy of Inya is a fool, but a clever one at that, and he avoided my attempts to ensnare him in future confrontations, hopefully however a worm of doubt might of crept into his plans. We conversed, we talked. He scared the living crap out of someone who makes a profession out of scaring people.

He departed and we got to the rescue. Untying the prisoner and vacating the area. Hauling the unconscious man we departed the scene of so many dead. Using the vehicles of cultists we drove away from the chemical works as we interrogated the prisoner. Maza, I’m sure beneath his face grill had a smile of such proportions as we sped from the immolation he caused, fires ripping through buildings and vats of chemicals. As the fires flared against the darkness of the sky the prisoner had the unforutnate temerity of asking who we are.

Turning to him, the battered bus hurtling down empty dust track roads, square miles of fire behind us I replied, more honest than perhaps he wanted that we were of course…the good guys.

And that as they say, is that. Fire and death. Fear and ruin. I fear little but that which I do fear, well…those things pave the wave to hell.

Episode 17
Personal log, Zacharea von Pinn

After rigging the silos with explosives manufactured by Maza, our next task was to assure the absense of any hostages or other innocents on the premises, before blowing the whole chemical plant — and the Pilgrims of Hayte with it — sky high.

Thus we made our way to the High Energy Compound. The tech priest found the debris-filled surroundings to provide natural camouflage to someone in his condition, while I made full use of my natural advantages to approach unseen. The psyker went looking for random pipes with his feet.

The resulting ruckus naturally attracted the attention of a guard, and Rezrel immediately employed a high-risk distraction. A distraction that was ultimately not needed as said guard unexpectedly fell to the ground, the accompanying noises indicating and a cursory examination confirming that every bone in his body broke at once. The psyker swears it was not his doing. I note how convenient it is that the only known witness to our approach was so thoroughly disposed of.

Further examination found that the guard in question had an apparently natural, fully functional tail. The tail was harvested as evidence of a potential xeno incursion, to be given to the appropriate authorities at a later point.

According to Maza’s assessment the HEC appears maintained and thus occupied. With this hypothesis in mind, we attempted entrance through the building’s single door, finding it rusted thoroughly shut.

Sidenote: Rezrel requires minor punishment at next opportune moment.

At this point the sound of drums and chanting could be heard throughout the complex, seeming to originate in the area of Refinery B. With this our new primary target, we repeated our approach pattern, down to the detail of Rezrel’s face finding the mud along the way.

At the site we could see dozens of cultists chanting while a sacrifice was prepared. Three robed figured stood separate, joining the group as a man in fancier robes stepped up to the sacrifice. Rezrel, having joined the crowd, communicated that fancyrobes was hot.

We prepared ourselves for an outright attack, but was beaten to it by an unknown third party. Upon fancyrobes’ orders, the crowd moved to deal with this party. We wasted no time. Some quick shots sunk both fancyrobes and his large henchman, but not before the former had the chance to conjure up something dark and punishing that puts him squarely within our job description.

The whole thing took only moments, the gunfire already dying down as Rezrel moved to intercept the third party, Maza and myself plotting a course to rescue the sacrifice.

I was too far away to hear the words spoken, but more than close enough to recognise the man leading the attackers as he came into view.


Sometimes I wish this job would surprise me. Then I remember the things that do surprise me on these missions, and think better of it.


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