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Thread: [M] The Replicants - IC

  1. #1
    The Replicant
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    Default [M] The Replicants - IC

    Rated M for distressing situations, violence, and potential language and drug references.

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    The snub-nosed shuttle lurched back into being in a violent burst of light, trailing red corposant along its 30 metre length as the last grasping fingers of warp stuff fell away and disintegrated, reluctantly releasing the ship back into realspace. The backlit glow in the eyes and mouths of Gellar-projection gargoyles along the shuttle's flanks faded, and the smaller running lights of auger sensors lit up to replace them.

    Even though it had only been a short hop from their homeship at the edge of the system to the inner planets, interrogator Javid Schafer still breathed a sigh of relief. It was a tiny voyage by the standards of most warp flights, not even needing a Navigator to reliably calculate, but only a fool took any length of journey through the immaterium lightly.

    Interrogator Schafer leaned forward and rested his hands on the cockpit dashboard. He was a tall, muscular man with wispy brown hair and a careworn face pulled tight by premature frown lines. He looked older than his 41 standard years, but that same weather-beaten face and the hard look in his eyes gave him an air of authority to match the inquisitorial signet on his ring finger. The rest of his uniform, simple black fatigues, matched his no-nonsense appearance perfectly.

    “Are the explorators in orbit yet?” he queried his pilot as he regarded the pale blue marble of a planet that filled most of the transparisteel cockpit windows. It was winter in the northern hemisphere, and most of the visible land mass was locked in snow beneath heavy clouds.

    “Not yet, sir.” the pilot replied in clipped Gothic. “They took the safe option and exited warp a little further from the atmosphere.”

    “The perks of working for the inquisition.” Schafer grunted. The shuttle had dropped back into realspace somewhat inside the buffer zone laid down by planetary regulations, but it had been necessary in order to intercept the returning explorators. Lord Sidonis wanted these men debriefed by his own organisation before they took anything back to the planetary governor. “Broadcast our clearance codes to the nearest orbital defence station, and if they kick up a fuss give me the vox.”

    Several of the orbitals were indeed demanding identification, lighting up the auger screens with bright hailing runes. Also blinking was the more placid contact icon of the explorator ship; further away, but still within the ring of rocks and dust that had been the planet's moon until four millenia ago when the Necron War had reduced it to gravel. Blinking within the man-made ring system was the icon of the massive grav-anchor station that kept at bay the cataclysmic climate shifts that the moon's absence would otherwise bring. The remains of the destroyed moon through which the grav-anchor floated posed a minor threat to careless navigators, but nothing like the threat of the laser defence stations that hung in low orbit. Even their auspex returns were aggressive, burning much larger and hotter than the vox satellites and spindly orbital docks that drifted around them. Schafer could see two of the defence orbitals from his cockpit, vast black star-shapes against the white planet behind. One seemed to be conducting an invasion drill; retros flaring silently to shift it into a different orbit and throw off the targeting solution of an imaginary attacker.

    “I'm just glad the boss trusted me with this.” the interrogator went on, half to himself, as his pilot busied himself with transmitting their ident codes to the nearest orbital. “Alia would probably have feigned her usual nicey-nice approach, pissed off someone and got into a fight with a defence monitor.”

    His pilot didn't say anything, only grinned and shook his helmeted head.

    “Something funny, Clement?” Schafer asked, raising an eyebrow.

    “Just that you never seem to have anything good to say about interrogator Machairi, sir.”

    “Probably on account of her being a total bitch.”

    Arval Clement grinned again, unoffendedly. He was a wiry, dark-skinned man with a shaved face and scalp beneath his interface helmet, and a very white smile that he flashed often. A career pilot, ten years in the Imperial Navy had left him with a calm professionalism and a tolerant view of sinful mankind - something that three further years serving the inquisition had not yet dampened. He knew both Javid Schafer and Alia Machairi, two of lord Sidonis' up-and-coming interrogators. Both were natural leaders, and two dominant personalities were bound to clash with each other.

    “They've accepted our codes, sir.” he said after a moment.

    “Have we got a vox link to the surface yet?” Schafer said tersely. He could have had the message sent to his agents on-world much sooner via astropath, but that would have meant having to put up with one of the witches for the duration of the trip to Venatora. And while some astropaths could be affable enough, they were prone to dissolving into babbling and paranoid fits without warning.

    Clemet took his eyes off the main controls for a brief moment to glance at the comms panel. “Yes sir, we’ve got a link.”

    “Tell our people already on the ground to rendezvous at the starport and wait for us to land, then hail the explorators.” Schafer paused to examine the auger returns again. “Any sign of Vizkop?”

    “No sir, not on luminal or warp sensors.”

    Tech-adept Vizkop was the mechanicus liaison who lord Sidonis had ordered to accompany Schafer to the meeting with the explorators. Though, being ad mech, he had decided to take his own separate transport. He must have got there before them.

    “Bloody tech priests.” Schafer growled.

    + + + + + +

    Thirty floors above ground level, the building's thick windows kept out the roar of the wind, although its strength was evident from the snowstorm flurrying past the glass. The apartment complex beneath the starport's number 3 landing pad was sumptuously furnished, and the best part was that it needed occupying in case the authorities came asking after Jet, an agent who was using it under an assumed identity before disappearing into deep cover in the shadier parts of the planetary capital. Marcus Black, however, was not taking advantage of the facilities. Like Jet, and the rest of lord Sidonis’ agents on Venatora, he was part of a net designed to take down a xenotech smuggler known to frequent the planet. The heretic had hit upon the novel idea of smuggling artefacts inside John Does and having his contacts pose as their next of kin, and while his sister Kelly monitored the local mortuary, Marc himself sifted through the data she and the others had collected in search of connections.

    He sat with one arm hooked round the back of his chair and the other hand absently prodding a fork into the food at his elbow while he scanned the data. It scrolled slowly in front of him, projected up by the hololith built into the table. The food was a standard local dish, consisting of strips of spiced meat stuffed into a hollow, bell-shaped fruit that was bright yellow and tasted slightly sweet. It wasn’t bad, but Marc still couldn’t believe that on Venatora there was no such thing as a sandwich.

    He paused for a moment in his work, turning towards the window to watch the blizzard. The anaemic sunlight outside illuminated a pallid but strong-jawed face with calculating green eyes, and dark hair cut short in the style of a hive enforcer who didn’t easily lose old habits, even after transferring out of the uniformed branch. On his desk next to the hololith and the plate of alien food was an empty tanna mug and a palmtop data slate. The PDA was open, with a message that had been uploaded to Marc as soon as it had filtered through the local astropathic choir. It was a letter from his father back on Solomon, letting him know that he was back on active duty in Decker hive now that his bionic legs had been replaced with higher-grade ones, paid for by Marc’s share of the Pembroke bounty. Marc’s father remained stilted in communication with his son, but now it was due to guilt rather than anger at a duty that he thought Marc had abandoned. It was neither of their fault - how could Marc have told his family that he hadn’t simply quit his job in the enforcers, but been recruited by the inquisition? Nevertheless, Marc was immensely relieved that his true employment was now out in the open - his father’s approval meant far more to him than he ever dared let on.

    All of Marc’s family had originally served with the enforcers on Solomon, although now only his father remained there. His sister Kelly had also been drafted into lord Sidonis’ retinue, but they weren’t the only ones to have done so following the Pembroke incident. Frank, Vincent, Kally and Eugene had made it out too, and been through the same interrogations, vetting and training as Marc himself. Frank had adjusted to his new role best, and was now off on a mission with agents Brenner and Van Der Mir, while Eugene had been transferred to Task Force Carbon - Sidonis’ stormtrooper detachment. Vincent and Kally were here with him on Venatora. Vincent was the same as ever - bipolar, and unreadable right up until the split-second he chose to take action - while Kally was noticeably more bitter and withdrawn. Mind you, Marc thought ruefully, Emperor knew she had reason enough to be angry with him.

    Also assigned to Marc’s data gathering team were the xenotech specialist L'Hoace; the pyrokine Shere, who despite his psyker status was probably the most upbeat member of the team; and a stormtrooper called Remus who had been assigned as security. Like Eugene, he served in Task Force Carbon under major Kadath Al-Omar.

    Marc shifted his right leg slightly as he thought of the major. The scars on his thigh, though long healed, still gave him pain during cold weather. Unfortunately, it was always bloody cold on Venatora. Marc had managed to stay professional with Al-Omar after the latter had rejoined Sidonis (following the abrupt termination of service with his former employer) but Marc was not yet ready to be friendly with the man who had both shot him and played an undeniable role in the disaster on Solomon.

    The strangest additions to their team were Sapphira, a Sister of the hospitaller, and the mechanicus liaison Vizkop. Of the first, Marc had wondered why a sarorita was required over a regular medicus, while the second had been attached to their team literally only hours ago. It made sense, given their recent orders to interview the returning explorators, but the team was not due to blast off from Vitaris and make the jump back to Venatora for several days.

    Marc’s thoughts were interrupted by a sudden chime from his PDA. He pulled it closer, read the message, and paused for a moment before tapping the tiny vox unit built into his wrist-chronometer.

    “Ordo team, this is Marc.” he said. He spoke in Venatoran low gothic, which they had all painstakingly learned before their arrival. “Schafer’s arrived early, and so have the explorators. He’s going to escort them down and wants us to meet him up on the landing pad.”

    Marc clicked off the vox-caster and stood up. Beneath a plain double-breasted suit, he had the wiry physique of someone who had been specifically trained to be at the peak of physical fitness, but without appearing so to a casual observer. That was a product of his last six months training for field operations, although it hadn’t prepared him for moving from a hive on an arid desert planet to one that was currently locked in a particularly bitter winter season. He grabbed a long cashmere coat and a pair of gloves, turning on the inbuilt heating coils as he slipped them on and headed for the door.

    He stepped into the sheltered waiting room overlooking the landing pad a minute or so later. The pad was a wide space ringed with flashing lights and auspex beacons, with space for several 50-metre-long orbital landers to touch down at once if necessary. Currently occupying the paint-marked landing strips were two Arvus lighters and a law-enforcement ’thopter, either having just been brought up by the hydraulic lifts or else still waiting to be lowered into the hangers below. Setting his feet apart, Marc clasped his hands and waited for the others.
    Last edited by Azazeal849; 02-26-2013 at 02:19 PM.

  2. #2
    The Last Remembrancer
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    Earlier

    The local chain ganger swung his meaty fist for Kally in a wide, wild haymaker. She stepped back across the floor of the refectory and leaned back, letting the flailing blow whisk past her head by an inch.

    Kally's cover was as a leg breaker for a local shipping guild. They needed someone who could watch the starport and the dense tangle of businesses, guilds and crime syndicates at street level for accomplices to the smuggler. She was earning a reputation as a pretty brutal piece of work, and this poor frack was about to add to that reputation. She stepped back again from another telegraphed blow, staying light on her feet and watching the massive muscles of her opponent bunch and writhe under his skin tight shirt. She was wearing her boots, reinforced gloves and her hardened bodyglove under street clothes. She had a protection and mobility advantage, but she couldn't hit nearly as hard as the ganger. And he was a lot tougher.

    Her opponent was a Chemmer, a particular breed of big dumb ox who used hormones and chems to boost there muscle mass. Tended to make them thick as posts, and angry as Grox's with hornets up their assess. This one had made a passing comment about her ass as she had left a meeting with her guild contact, and as a guild enforcer honour demanded she couldn't let it pass. A drink got thrown, words where said, and pretty quickly people where laying odds. Chemmers did two things near the star port: haul heavy cargo's and break smaller people.

    Her opponent followed her to the edge of the impromptu ring. Most people where laying odds on the Chemmer. She could dance all day but getting inside his reach to do some damage meant risking those sledgehammer fists, a trip to the local medicae facility, or worse.

    She dropped to her knees as he lunged forwards to try and pull her into a bear hug, and rolled away to the left. Coming up to her feet as her opponent turned, she snapped her right foot up and caught him under his chin, cracking his jaw and sending him staggering backwards. He recovered quickly to his credit, swinging those wild haymakers again as Kally gave up the ground in the ring. From the sounds around the Refectory, Kally thought she might be providing a big upset for a few people.

    She stepped round him again, driving her gloved right hand up into his armpit in a move that Kadath had drilled into her in CQC training. As the big guy lurched from the unexpected strike, she moved behind him and delivered a swift stomp to the back of his knee. He bellowed in surprise pain and slumped down to one knee, just in time for Kally to deliver another hard axe kick to the back of his head to knock him to the floor.

    A silence fell over the Refectory as Kally settled into a fighting stance, waiting for the big lug to rise. He stirred, trying to get up, but then slumped back down again. He was beaten.

    Around her the refectory went wild. Other fights broke out over winnings. She merely sneered at the big oaf, sketching a little bow. She turned, walked through the crowd, picked up her long coat, and disappeared into the night. On her way out the guild contact had passed her an envelope. Local currency, and a job for later. It was in the district where they where handling the transport of corpses.

    “Position two.”

    The winch activated again and for a few moments Kally struggled to stay on the floor, lifting her arms as high as they would go, straining her legs to ease even a little of her weight onto the metal deck. It was futile. In a few seconds more she was dangling from the chain and it felt like her shoulders and arms had caught fire. It was even a struggle to breathe. For the first time real fear of what this maniac would do to her gripped her as it suddenly became a struggle to remain as still as possible, every twist on the chain adding to the pain. This must be what a worm on a hook feels like, she realised as she fought not to panic as the room slowly twisted around her.

    Nathaniel swum into her field of vision. How long had she been up there? She could feel the sweat streaming from her, the shortness of breath and the tightness of her chest. She thought she could feel blood trickling down her arms where the manacles where biting into her wrists. The pain was clouding her mind to the point she didn't even know if she had been saying anything. She couldn't feel her fingers, but considering what her arms and shoulders where telling her, that was probably a mercy. She blinked, managing to focus on the Explicator and his damn clipboard and quill.

    “Ordo team, this is Marc.” he said. He spoke in Venatoran low gothic, which Kally had been cramming on for the past month or so between meditative exercises and athletic reconditioning. “Schafer’s arrived early, and so have the explorators. He’s going to escort them down and wants us to meet him up on the landing pad.”


    She lurched up in her bed, streaked in sweat. Her hand flew to the pistol on the night stand next to her and she flicked the safety off as she scanned the empty room. Just a dream. Just a dream. She slowed her breathing, taking a deep calming breath. Just a dream. With shaky hands she safed the las pistol and placed it back on the night stand before picking activating her comm. bead.

    "Kally To Marc. I'll be up in a minute."

    She climbed out of bed, holding her head in her hands for just a few seconds to collect her thoughts. She beat the memories back down, then rose to get her gear. She didn't need this right now.

    She studiously avoided the shower. And flannels. She had a sink wash instead, and got back into the body glove. Laspistols, paired steelburners, went into a pancake holster on her back. Knives slipped into combat boots, a gift from Major Kadath when she successfully completed the CQC course. Unlike Marc, she hadn't had much contact with the Tallarn during the Pembroke incident (apart from one incident with two soldiers, a car park, and a gunship) and she found it difficult to hold a grudge against the man. Just a professional doing his job. The collar fitted around her neck, dampening her powers to the point where she was tolerable to baseline humans, then slung on her overcoat. She tied her blond hair back into a simple pony tail and retrieved her boltgun. Marc would probably appreciate it if she didn't dawdle any longer.

    He stepped into the sheltered waiting room overlooking the landing pad a minute or so later. The pad was a wide space ringed with flashing lights and auspex beacons, with space for several 50-metre-long orbital landers to touch down at once if necessary. Currently occupying the paint-marked landing strips were two Arvus lighters and a law-enforcement ’thopter, either having just been brought up by the hydraulic lifts or else still waiting to be lowered into the hangers below. Setting his feet apart, Marc clasped his hands and waited for the others.

    "Marc" she offered as she stepped into the room behind him a few minutes later. She hadn't exactly avoided Marc since the Pembroke incident, but she hadn't looked him up either. In truth, Marc had seen her briefly at easily the lowest ebb of her life, the most vulnerable and damaged she had ever been and seeing him reminded her too much of that moment, even though Marc had played a major part in saving her skin. So she had buried herself in recovery and training, redeveloping the lost muscle mass, learning the skills she needed to be useful to Sidonis. And it wasn't like he had done the same. They where both busy people and Kally was tough company at the best of times. Came with the territory.
    If he wanted to say anything, he should feel free, but for the moment she just leaned against the wall and waited for the others.

    "So, how did it go downhive? Any new information?"

    She looked up sharply at Marc. He was still looking out at the landing pad. She shrugged her shoulders as she stood up straight.

    "Nothing really new. I've got a couple of jobs going through the target district in the next few days, I'm hoping to turn something up but I'm not confident. Its a whole damn ecosystem round that port, and they're pathological about keeping secrets. If I can identify some of the 'relatives' from the crowd, we might get a break that way, but you're probably better following the data end with Kelly. That money chain has to go somewhere."

    She had snapped into reporting mode, standing straight, hands clasped in the small of her back (despite the twinge of pain). They might have a frosty relationship but that was no reason not to be professional.

    "Oh, got into a fight as well. Nothing I couldn't handle."
    Last edited by dakkagor; 02-26-2013 at 03:25 PM.
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  3. #3
    Sanity's Eclipse
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    The glow of the data slate screen splashed over Vizkop’s mask while he reviewed his assignment parameters for the forty-seventh time in the past hour. He was sitting in the small transport that had brought him to the surface, the only sound around him coming from the servitor pilot as it ran diagnostic checks on the systems. Vizkop’s mask pulsed slightly as he let out a mechanical sigh. He tossed the data slate aside with a small clatter and stood up from his seat. He picked his shoulder holster and strapped them on over his light armored body glove. With a rustle of fine fabric, Vizkop was soon covered by his ornate Mechanicus robe. His face was hidden behind a helmet-mask with a cross shape on the front. It was hooked into his cybernetic senses to further enhance them. He would need the increased eyesight and sharper hearing to find tells in body language and read vocal tones during conversation.

    The knife slid from the target’s back, the pistol coming around to fire noiselessly through the head of another.

    Into the shoulder holster went his stub pistol, a custom weapon made for his hand. The weight was reassuring and familiar. On his hip rested his large bore stub revolver. He twitched his wrists slightly, causing a pair of blades to spring out over the tops of his hands and fill the compartment with the blue glow of power fields. <All things are in readiness> he spoke to the empty ship in binary. <I am departing. You may return to the transport when I disembark.>

    The pistol fired again and he felt her back against his, head turning to glance at her.

    “Compliance,” the servitor droned.

    The knife hand swung again as eyes met. Warm blood spilled onto his hand, soaking into the fabric of the glove.

    The tech-adept exited the lander, securing his robe closed and looking very obvious in the scarlet color. The private transport he had arrived in closed its door and took off from the pad. Vizkop rubbed his cybernetic hands together for a moment, bioelectricity jumping between the fingers for brief seconds before he let his hands drop to his sides. He did not relish having to make sure the Inquisition agents and the Explorators played nice, but it needed to be done. All the facts needed to be on the table and talking to one of their own would surely help the Explorators open up.

    She winked at him and spun away, removing three other living obstacles.

    If they had nothing to hide.

    All subtlety had gone.

    Vizkop started walking off of the pad toward the waiting station. He had arrived early so he could go over his slates in peace. But, with his reviewing done, the time for meet and greet had come. He stepped into the waiting room to find it already occupied by a male and a female. Given their dress and posture, he assumed they were part of the Inquisition team he had been attached to.

    The hallway stank with blood and eyes met once more, smiles splitting faces.

    “Tech-adept Vizkop reporting,” he said in measured Venatoran Gothic. He made it a point to learn the local dialect of a planet when he was visiting on business.
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  4. #4
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    John found himself sitting in a small Venatora church about a 10 minute walk from the starport. He was sitting in the middle as usual and fancied he could feel a grove from the hours he had spent here. He sighed and looked around with tired eyes. It wasn’t that he didn’t like being here, in truth he was here because it was the place he most enjoyed, but after so many visits with nothing inbetween even the best places could grow boring.

    If he had been able to visit some of the larger cathedrals in the city he may have enjoyed it more. He could spend hours viewing the architecture and decoration of a larger cathedral. Seeing which local martyrs and saints had been chosen by the church for the walls and roof, examining busts of priests past. He might have even been able to get into a library and read of those acts directly. A smile took to his face just from the thought of doing so.

    Instead he had been forced, admittedly by himself, to stay within a close distance to the apartment the ordo squad was using in case something came up. The only church close enough had been this medium sized one in a nearby apartment on the 5th floor. While there was an official ecclesiarch priest overseeing the church, they had not seen fit to do much in the way of decoration. The walls had been painted white though that was now flaking from age. In addition most of the room was taken up by rows of pews in order to fit as many people in as possible.

    With the midday service finished John rose from his seat and decided to head back to the apartment to see if anything had progressed. Picking his staff off the seat next to him he walked out of the room, ignoring the stares he got, and headed to the ground floor. Outside a snowstorm had picked up and was blowing a furious gale down the streets. He could see barely any people were visible along the sidewalk, few willing to brave the storm and the cold for any reason.

    Turning to his left John began the trip back to the starport. The cold bothered him little, it never had. A pyrokine didn’t feel the cold unless they wished too, his own power sustaining his heat in the freezing winds. Even so he had put on a large, white trenchcoat which provided a decent amount of warmth on his own. Even with the force staff he tried not to attract attention to himself as a psyker and walking around in just a bodyglove would draw suspicion.

    As he walked he mused on what the group was doing here. They were mostly just waiting for the interrogator as they compiled information; no real action had been taken against the smuggler yet. That was what had John sitting around for hours in the nearby church. His logokine skills were only useful when they had people to question and there hadn’t been much of that lately. And his pyrokine skills were useless until they took action, something he knew wouldn’t happen until the interrogator arrived.

    Suddenly his wrist chron mentally buzzed with the sound of a message. The small psychic adaptor attached sent the message straight to him

    +Ordo team, this is Marc. Schafer’s arrived early, and so have the explorators. He’s going to escort them down and wants us to meet him up on the landing pad+

    The news was welcome, it meant their investigation would hopefully progress to the next stage. He held the chron up to his mouth, preferring to respond by his voice rather than the monotone one built in, “John here. On my way back.”

    ***

    He arrived at the landing pad a couple of minutes later to see 2 figures waiting. As he approached he immediately felt the sting of the cold enter through the coat and revised his earlier statement. A pyrokine didn’t feel the cold unless they wished to or there was a cold enough woman nearby. He backtracked a few steps and waited outside Kally’s null range hoping the Interrogator would take no offence at his distance.
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  5. #5
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    A Lackluster Reunion
    Years prior

    Why had he been dragged out here again? To the back end of all creation? Orders he supposed, though when he was personally requested by one Lady Inquisitor Chrysanta of the family Remus, his heart almost shattered then and there, his world shrank, his hands shook, his right eye twitched, surely his eldest sibling had matured over the past few solar cycles. He never could understand how she earned the title Inquisitor. Though Chrysanta was always the kind to enjoy the scenarios of cat and mouse, which in a way made her perfect for the Inquisitorial rounds, weeding out traitor cults or investigating xeno activity on those far flung systems.

    His destination was the outlying world of Ferrum, an Imperial backwater known by few, its only profitable venture its numerous mineral deposits, its only visitors the quarterly merchant vessels sent to collect the Empires tribute, taking with it hundreds of millions of tons in ores to be refined into goods across the Imperium. Julianus had caught one of these transports before its departure from Solitas, a six week journey in a freighter hauling a full load of agri produce. A journey that only succeeded in leaving his fatigues with the stench of meat. A stink he couldn't seem to wash out despite attempting to do so; multiple times.

    He had met his accursed sister at Ferrums planetary space port; a goods loading station anchored in high orbit, connected to the planet by a single tether sporting numerous cargo elevators that ferried the hourly mineral shipments. She stood waiting at the opposite end of the docking umbilical, donned in a robe that hid her figure and a hood draped over her head, obscuring her face save for her the families dull green eyes and a malicious smile.

    "Brother! I though you would never come, I started to have my doubts over the last few weeks, wondering if my message even made it to you." Her tone was rather serious, something that left Julianus pondering if he was wrong about her, that the sense of power that had seemed so relishing during her younger years had vanished, leaving behind someone calm, devote, careful and precise.

    'Well, it did, hit the fortresses Astropathic banks four months ago, than transmitted to me on local vox net a day later. Your request was approved after another following week and I was sent on the next transport shuttle out, it was a maze getting to you.' He replied, stopping as he passed the red line designating the umbilicals end and the stations beginning. He was clad in full gear, save for his weapons and personal effects that were stored in the kit bag which hung from a sling across his back.

    "Well what matters is that you are here, I could trust no one else but you, we have a bond thicker than anything." She returned, the thought once again going through his mind, that perhaps this was not an attempt to gloat but one of a dire nature. He paused, thinking of her choice of words, a family bond, did they truly have that? Out of the fleeting contact he had with his many older brothers and sisters, Chrysanta was often the one he was least accustom to; at least that was before he had received word of one of his brothers death, a warrant stamped with the badge of office of the Commissariat and inked with the Remus name.

    'My Lady Inquisitor, may I implore you a question?' Julianus inquired, his mind pinching at strings and going over the possibilities.

    "There is no need for the formalities out here, Julie. Ask away." She answered, though the nickname was something he despised, be it the juvenile nature of it or that it sounded more like a name intended for the opposite sex. He closed his eyes and silently sighed, the expression thankfully hidden behind his rebreather.

    'Yes sister,..... Lady Chrysanta,..... Inquisitor,..... Ma'am....." He stammered, experience, training and a Schola Progenium education made forgetting the curiosities difficult. "When did you send this message?'

    "You were always one for formalities Julie." She reflected, her tone managing to sound rather cheerful. "Six months ago."

    'You were here for.....' Julianus stopped mid-sentence as she rose a hand.

    "No, don't be a fool brother, I made numerous rounds while I waited, going over reports and assessing local matters that planetary lords claimed needing an Ordo touch. I extrapolated, though this planets weather patterns have kept me from completing my task, a delay that has kept me here for two weeks at current and if not for these storms I may have missed your arrival completely." She said, nodding her head slowly as she finished.

    'So an Inquisitor can be wrong?' Julianus halfheartedly answered, though as the words parted lips he wished he stayed his tongue.

    "Wrong? You would be so bold to accuse an Inquisitor, and fail to address one without the proper terms or respects. I should have you lashed, beaten or better yet, use my powers to force you to do that to yourself." She warned, her voice like daggers.

    'But you said,..... Sorry my Lady, forgive me Inquisitor.' The storm trooper bowed his head and worded his apologies. Memories of his youth, of those times before and during his time at the Progenium beginning to come back to him.

    The spell was broken, whatever he had thought instantly vanished. She remained the same harlot of the Emperor, pardon my lack of faith grand Imperator, as she ever was. It was then that she took a step forward, wrapping her arms around her younger sibling, an event Julianus had not predicted nor would he ever thought he'd see an Inquisitor actually do. He responded on reflex, as often as he protested he wasn't a man completely devoid of emotion, the gesture lasted for a mere moment as both parties backed off.

    "Come now brother, we have the work of the Emperor to attend to." Chrysanta finished as she motioned her way to the orbitals planetary elevators.

    'As you wish Inquisitor.' Julianus acknowledged, slowly following her lead before building the courage to walk along her flank.

    * * * * *

    Task Force Carbon

    How long had it been? Remus wondered as he waited in line at the mess, his gaze going over the other members of his platoon as they made their way to breakfast after morning PT. Many of his peers stood ahead of him making selections from the slop the facilities cook had to offer. His mind debating if it was time to send his numerous relatives a message, it had been years since he had seen any of them, the faces of his remaining brother in the Guard or the stain in the Commissariat becoming a fading memory.

    "Oi! Remus, lines moving!" A trooper yelled out behind him, giving him a shove with his food tray. Julianus balled a fist, cracking his neck as he did, in full kit he pondered how many teeth the man could lose if he punched him in the jaw with an armoured gauntlet. He shook his head to rid himself of such a thought, instead he stepped forward, wrapping his hand around the serving instruments of the items that at least looked edible.

    'Yeah, yeah, do that again Tavus and you see what happens.'
    "Oh, come now Remus, we all know your secret, under that hard shell lies a family man."

    'Ha! And how would you know that?' Julianus almost snorted at the comment, shaking his head as he made way to his table. He shared it with another eight troopers; who were to busy eating or battling each other to make themselves heard.

    'How about we decide this by a game of regicide?'
    "Throne sake, I am never playing that game with you again. It's like,.... Are you sure you're not a Psyker?"
    'I assure you I am not. I'm just naturally gifted I suppose.'
    "Yeah, yeah. Remind me, why are we here again?"
    'Ordo matters. All it ever is, all they ever tell us and all it ever seems we do is patrol and keep out the riffraff.'
    "Don't forget PT and sermon."
    'Hey, I like PT.'
    "One of the only people that actually do."
    'Hah, well it seems I'm the runt of the litter, being allocated to this team for the prospect of security. Huh, guess I'll be opening doors, holding hands, carry equipment and looking overly menacing.'
    "Oh, I know that all to well. They always think they're better than us."
    'They are better than us.'

    * * * * *

    Snow? Here I thought this was a desert planet. Julianus continued to let his mind wonder as he made way to the landing pad, stopping along one of the painted outlines, slapping his boots together and making the sign of aquila before holding stance with a crisp salute. Typical curtsey drilled for hours upon hours in his youth, a position that he would not move from unless directed.
    Last edited by Jarms48; 07-14-2013 at 01:55 PM.

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    Vincent awoke from a dream, moments ago he had trodden the swirling landscape of of Aphra Sela where he’d hunted down an old associate or maybe Aria where he finally killed the snake-tongued fokker – he couldn’t tell and the fleeting details disappeared almost as soon as he opened his eyes. He sat up, swinging his legs over the side of his cot and squinting under the hard glare of the lumin strips mounted to the ceiling of his quarters. The dreams had started to come back a few months ago, and they weren’t always welcome. He had been clean for a while now, and sleeping naturally for the first time in what felt like decades. Vincent figured that a few old memories whether good or bad, were a fair trade for a clear head and a clean bill of health. He pulled on his fatigues and padded across the floor to the sink and stared at his bare chested form in the mirror. The entire right hand side of his torso had been smashed to a bloody pulp on Makita and had since been replaced with armoured augmetics. A jagged scar of puckered flesh ran from his hip to what remained of his shoulder adding even more to his body’s somewhat jigsaw-like aesthetic – tattoos ended abruptly where the damaged parts of his body had simply been removed and new lumps of scar tissue and vat grown skin grafts were almost luminous against his leathery hide.

    Vincent hefted his new arm, an angular block of coal black carbon fibre and armaplas, and twisted it into place in its socket, he refused to sleep with it attached to him, maintaining that it twitched and moved around in the night. There was a barely audible buzz as it connected to the complex network of artificial nerve bundles and MIUs that allowed him to move it. After a few seconds he flexed the fingers and remembered how hard it had been in the beginning – it had taken months of painful rehabilitation to get any real use out of it and it hurt from time to time. Part of him hated it, the fokkers had actually made him pay for the damn thing out of his share of the Pembroke bounty and in a way it almost felt like a brand, a mark of ownership his new masters had placed upon him. Still, he could a crush man’s skull with it so that was something at least. He chuckled quietly to himself.

    Vincent’s vox unit crackled into life as he was tying his boots, it was the Kid calling them to assemble. He was the boss now, apparently. Vincent tapped the acknowledgement rune before pulling on a scruffy vest and his shoulder holster. He stopped and stared intently at himself one more time, as if trying to read something in his own eyes, and then stomped out of the room to meet with the team.


    ****


    Vincent stepped into the warmth of the waiting room and was faced by what he guessed was the rest of the team – he was usually the last to arrive.

    “Mornin’ folks.” He said cheerfully, not caring if he interrupted anyone.

    He spared a polite nod for Kally – she was tough as nails and a fokken freak to boot. He liked her. Vincent pulled a lho stick from behind his ear and lit it.

    “What’s the good word?”

  7. #7
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    Marc offered a brief hello to Shere and a nod of acknowledgement to Remus, letting the stormtrooper stand down. Like most of the Carbon stormtroopers, he couldn’t fault his professionalism.

    ”Mornin’ folks.” Vincent said cheerfully. “What’s the good word?”

    The big ex-bounty hunter seemed to be in one of his better moods, which was good.

    “Other than the explorators are back early...” Marc admitted, turning away from the window to face Vincent. He avoided meeting eyes with Kally, which he pretended was due to still not being quite used to her blank nature. “Your guess is as good as mine, Vince.”

    The governor’s office had been understandably secretive about the mission to Vitaris, so much so that even the inquisition had only found out about it two days later. Governor Faroven wasn’t the only one who found it suspicious that a pulse-looped vox signal had started broadcasting from a supposedly dead planet, and what’s more one that had appeared when the two planets were approaching opposition and would remain so for the next two weeks. And now the explorator mission he had sent out in secret before the inquisition could intervene were returning significantly ahead of schedule. As was his habit, Marc had already come up with several theories as to why the joint aeronautica / ad mech team might have cut their mission short; few of them were benign.

    From their superiors Marc and the others had been told little, beyond the news that interrogator Schafer and an ad mech liaison had been dispatched, and a maddeningly vague order to continue with their current investigations until further notice. Well, Marc thought as he glanced at Vizkop, the liaison had arrived, but so far he hadn’t told them anything new either.

    “You might ask adept Vizkop.” he suggested, cocking an eyebrow towards the tech priest who had remained silent behind his T-shaped visor since making his initial introduction.
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    Fredriq was buried. Trapped in a cave of unknown twists, turns and ends. Surrounded, entombed and alone. All around him were piled data slates, books of all shapes and sizes, a personal holofield projection unit for reading mem-crystals, a local data-web uplink monitor, even some sheaves of manuscript. He was exactly where he wanted to be. Lost, spiralling through the collected knowledge, factoids, history and dramas of a new world; content.

    He sat, head down and rapt, in the Main Reading Hall of the Librarium Administratum of St. Jerome the Bookkeeper. A fine building, he supposed. Architecturally speaking it was nothing compared to, say, the Gran Bibliotéqa de Malazar, far off in the Hespix Sector, with its vaulted ceilings and Rhatongan Revival buttresses fashioned from exquisite chrydite marble. Now that was a fine building. But this, a more... humble edifice, hid its treasure well, but my what treasure it was.

    Fredriq had unearthed what appeared to be an original fourth edition copy of Gulden-Locke's Treatise on the Formation of Planets Hospitable to the Human Species or the Elements Required for Their Survival, an exceedingly rare find which he was presently savouring like some might a liquor's familiar burn or a lover's fleeting touch.

    Of course, he was already familiar with the work and the conclusions drawn by Gulden-Locke, as any man of learning in the Imperium should be. Nevertheless, he was enthralled. To see with his own eyes the perfection of the cartographic diagrams, the subtle brilliance of the ancient typeface illuminating the masterfully wrought hypotheses with which the work triumphantly, boldly finishes, aroused a flurry of excitement emanating from the ancient paper sheets through his fingertips and into his soul itself.

    His enjoyment was rather rudely interrupted by a sudden, high pitched chime and Fredriq was ungratefully teleported back to the here and now. Snatching his wide-framed spectacles from where they perched at the tip of his broad nose, he glared around for the source of the noise, jet black eyes shooting daggers at any who dared interrupt the gentle, rhythmic patterns of this temple of the intellect.

    Around him the librarium maintained its steady buzz of activity: the muted clack-clack of the auto-scribe servitors, the hum of atmospheric stabilisers and the shuffling of robed Administratum officials as they went about their unending work - all continued at their steady pace, the entire scene the picture of reverential purpose. Quite what the source of the most unwelcome distraction had been, he could not ascertain.

    At the only other occupied public table a lecturer from the local university glanced at Fredriq, his sallow, angular face wearing an irate expression of forbearance. Fredriq motioned a sigh of understanding in his general direction before returning his attention to the detritus of his own table, piled with knowledge given physical form. Perhaps it was for the best, he had been drifting for quite some time from the purpose at hand, frustrating as it was.

    He was here on secondment to one Lord Sidonis, an Inquisitor of some standing in the Ixaniad Sector. Though he had not personally met the Inquisitor. Nor even his Interrogator. What was his name? Jove, or some such. Imagine the discoureteousness, having a xenologist of his standing be dispatched from Ixaniad Sector Inquisitorial Command to this backwater, with very little by way of explanation, no proper resources for research, and then to have a lackey, a servant, meet him at the starport...

    Heaving a deep sigh that filled his lungs and shook his small frame, Fredriq ceased that line of thinking as fruitless. It would only raise his ire; already he felt a heat rising in his lined face as he flushed at the ignominy to which he had been subjected. Despite these things not all was lost; were he not dispatched to this humble librarium he might never have beheld the glorious tome which he had just been perusing.

    Indeed Venatora itself, world and system both, was possessed of some remarkable stories of great personal and academic interest to him. With the planet's archives largely at his fingertips, even those sections normally beyond access of the common researcher thanks to the partial Inquisitorial privileges granted to him, he was largely content to while away his hours here until such a time as that Black fellow called upon him.

    Not two Terran minutes had passed, and just as he was beginning to sink back into the soft embrace of his studies, than the ghastly chime sounded once more, if anything louder this time. Reaching for his nose to clutch his spectacles in anger, he realised that he had not replaced them following their previous usage as an expression of his irritation. He no longer required the glasses for reading thanks to some bionic implants which, as an aside to their primary functions, had fully restored his vision. Still, he had become somewhat attached to his reading glasses, they just seemed to fit, and so he had the lenses replaced with clear glass so as to allow him to wear them and not return to the level of hindrance their absence once caused.

    Instead he reached and plucked them from atop a precarious pile of data slates as he levelled his gaze around the room searching for the continued source of his annoyance. And all the saints bedamned if he didn’t see that local university professor glaring quite heatedly at him as if he were the source of the confounded noise! Fredriq returned his steely gaze for a moment before pointedly replacing his glasses to their rightful place, perched low at the very tip of his nose, exaggeratedly turning ever so slightly away from the man and resuming his reading.

    “Well plague rot the felcher’s beady eyes,” thought Fredriq, bristling at the man’s presumptuousness. Looking at him as if he had no right to be there. Why in his previous visits to the librarium the ‘professor’ had explained to him that he was a teacher of agri-science at the local university, and that he was researching the use of grox manure in the fertilisation of arid soil. Imagine, a man who made his life’s work the investigation of the bowel functions of a vile and beastly creature, an expert of the scatological. Some of his subject matter may have seeped into his thick skull, to give Fredriq such a look.

    Bristling away to himself he resumed his research of the history of the Venatora System, particularly the events of M37 which led to the destruction of its moon. Fascinating stuff, once he had gone beyond the official reports and prop-vids of the defeat of the alien threat by dint of his Inquisitorial override commands.

    Having not been permitted access to any of the supposed xenos artefacts being smuggled in the system these pages were his best diversion, and at least tangentially related to his reason for being here. Fredriq settled back in his seat with a particular eye-witness report dating from early M37 and began to sink into the account; it really was a romping tale, the Guardsman relating the occurrences in a far more satisfactory fashion than the dry and dusty matter-of-factness of the official historia and…

    Louder than ever that blasted chime. A string of curses ready on his lips, Fredriq was half way out of his chair when a shadow fell over him. The professor was standing over him, threateningly close and looming, his lips drawn tight in a scowl. When he spoke, his words were of that awful Venatoran vernacular.

    “Excuse me, but would answer that vox, for Throne’s sake?” he growled.

    Fredriq blinked once or twice, confused, not following what the professor was saying. Suddenly he remembered the personal hand-held secure vox unit Marcus Black had provided him with upon arrival on the world. He searched for it beneath the piles of books and manuscripts, eventually ferreting it out as the professor resumed his seat with a hostile backwards glance.

    Keying in his encryption codes Fredriq saw that there was indeed a message from Black. Entering a further encryption code, a transcribed message read: +++ Ordo Team, this is Marc. Schafer’s arrived early, and so have the explorators. He’s going to escort them down and wants us to meet him up on the landing pad. +++

    Fredriq swore quietly to himself and stood up. Beckoning to the one attendant librarian, shawled in the ubiquitous grey robes of the Administratum’s Librariam, he snatched up his grox-hide coat and tossed it over his shoulders. As the Librarian approached with a long-suffering expression written across his face Fredriq blurted, “sir, I have an important matter to attend to, please see that my materials remain untouched until my return.”

    Warp take him but the man had the temerity to respond! This would never have happened in the sprawling libraries at Inquisitorial Command. As Fredriq rooted out his personal datapad from the teetering mountain on his table, the fellow bustled about in protest. “But Professor Klimpf, you can’t possibly just abandon your borrowings like this. They must be returned to their rightful place in the archives.” His voice was raising to a yell as Fredriq made his way brusquely to the door. “The correct paperwork has yet to be filed! Professor!”

    But Fredriq was gone, his data-slate stowed alongside the vox-receiver and his ident-card proclaiming him as Professor Hermann Flimpf of the Imperial History faculty of the Universitas Majoria Ixaniad in the inside pocket of his jacket. He joined the steady trickle of people making their way down the enclosed thoroughfare outside the Librariam Administratum of St. Jerome the Bookkeeper, terminating in one of the city's major trans-hubs. The last thing Fredriq saw as the enviro-barriers clamped shut was the beady-eyed faecal professor shaking his head in disgust.
    Last edited by childsouldier; 02-27-2013 at 10:49 PM. Reason: made text colour legible

  9. #9
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    Julianus unclasped his legs to a more comfortable position and moved to cup his hands behind his back. His head glanced across the room, taking note of the faces he could recall from prior excursions.

    His gaze soon snapped to Mr. Nyl, one individual he already began to loathe, he had an aura about him. Remus could get the feeling he was reckless and undisciplined, a man who lacked proper courtesies in the face of the Inquisition. The storm trooper held back a response, his gaze merely followed him as the man moved deeper into the room.

    The others, Kally who seemed rather off putting, an oddness about her, an unnatural feeling he could not understand, despite her complexion, something of which the storm trooper seemed rather fond of, his eyes making a pass across her form before he shook away the thought. His sight falling to the next squad member in the room.

    The Investigator, still just a boy in his eyes, Remus found it rather disgraceful actually, his years of experience handed down to fresh blood. Perhaps he could be wrong, but Remus would have to allow unfolding events to play out before such a judgement was rectified.

    The finally he caught glimpse of the bolt magnet, a gear head; someone he hadn't actually seen before and the rest, he didn't even bat them a glance. Julianus was going to have fun with this lot, he would have almost preferred being at the back end of all creation.
    Last edited by Jarms48; 07-06-2013 at 11:03 PM.

  10. #10
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    He backtracked a few steps and waited outside Kally’s null range hoping the Interrogator would take no offence at his distance.

    Sorry kid, this is as low as it goes.

    She spared the bolt magnet a glance and a apologetic shrug of the shoulders. If how people felt around her was uncomfortable, psykers had it ten times worse. The collar was turned to its maximum setting of damping, and he was still feeling the effects from a distance of three meters or more.

    And this is why no one ever gets close.

    He spared a polite nod for Kally – she was tough as nails and a fokken freak to boot. He liked her. Vincent pulled a lho stick from behind his ear and lit it.

    "Vincent" She returned the nod with one of her own, being respectful to the veteran soldier. Vincent Nyl was probably the other person who got most chewed up by Makita. The new shiny augs, the big intimidating black mech-limb and rebuilt torso testament to just how damn tough that had been on a few people.

    Vincent was a pro, and a hard case. When Kally had heard he was on the team it had been the first bit of good news she had heard in a while.

    his eyes making a pass across her form before he shook away the thought. His sight falling to the next squad member in the room.

    Kally glared at the back of Julianus head. Motherfracker had just been staring at her ass! Her fists balled for a second, then she took a deep breath and relaxed. No point slugging the guy over it. Hell, she should be glad of the attention, it wasn't like. . .

    “You might ask adept Vizkop.” Marc suggested, cocking an eyebrow towards the tech priest who had remained silent behind his T-shaped visor since making his initial introduction.

    That interrupted her chain of thought. She looked to the Adept. He looked dangerous for a cog-boy, more like a hit man or gun slinger than a tech priest. She almost wanted to see him in action, just to see what those fancy looking pistols could do.

    Careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
    I have seen the future. The future is dead.
    We killed it


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