Author Topic: The Mouse, the Lion and the Eagle. [Jamas Orian and his Warband]  (Read 1156 times)

Offline Jamas Orian

  • Interrogator
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  • Posts: 97
The trip to the world of Endocant, a populous garden world in the Endicae sector, was exceptionally dull. Mind numbingly so in fact. Not that there wasn't plenty of work to be doing in the mean time, but by the throne, there have been more entertaining funerals.

The Archangel, a fast imperial transport ship, was dropped out of warp with the freighter that it had accompanied with a bright, silent flash – the Gellar field that protected both ships from the warp flickered as it faded, no longer needed now that they were in real space.

Inquisitor Orian stood on the modest bridge of the Archangel and surveyed the mostly purple and blue planet before them, the front of the ship with its sedate gothic features and arrowhead brow visible from the rearward bridge.

Orian was a tall caucasian man, of an unremarkable stature and gait, well toned but hardly a bodysculptor. He had his long dark hair tied behind his head, his brilliant blue-green eyes reflected the image of the planet and the off-white of the ship's readouts, his straight-bridged nose casting a shadow across his stubbly cheeks. He then cast a furrowed brow at one of the readouts, his dark eyebrows tensed in a stare of concentration, trying to pick a suitable spaceport.

Not exactly the place of legend making he thought to himself, mentally recalling what he'd read about the planet. It was mostly unremarkable. Paid its tithes, put out some useful Guard regiments, manufactured most of what any other planet of this size manufactures.

In front of him was Robert Carley, the skipper of the vessel, and a Navy lieutenant. The bionic half of his face glinted as some sunlight reflected off an ocean, he looked down to his instruments. His brown organic eye flitted alertly between different visual readouts. He pursed his thin lips as he was about to speak, but the Inquisitor interrupted him.

"Robert, take us down to..." Orian started, looking at a different holo-readout of the planet's surface, "take us down to Tractus Prodigium Secundus, if you would be a gent." He tapped his finger on the spaceport's location on the readout, although Robert couldn't see it.

"Aye, sir. You wish me to announce that you are a special guest?" Robert asked with his slightly raspy voice, twitching as he did sometimes when he was plugged directly into the ship's systems. He was asking if the inquisitor wanted to make his presence known.

Orian paused for a moment, snapping his head forwards at Robert before he answered, catching a glimpse of the planet beginning to fill the forward viewer.

"No. No I don't think so." He said laxly. "Got any alibis that we can use?"

"Aye, Sir – plenty!" Robert said with a grin, although only the organic side of his face responded. The inquisitor could see the lieutenant's smile in the reflection on the viewport. Robert twitched a couple of times again and started to murmur something quietly. Orian figured that he was now in commune with the control deck on the spaceport.

Pacing out of the darkened bridge via the rear door, into the more brightly roof corridor, the gunmetal walls glinting a little in the soft light. He descended the first flight of spiral stairs that he came to quite loudly, the metal under his boots clanging as he went. This continued as he descended the 30 feet or so downwards. He was now in the oratory, nominally the primary working area of small crew, and the hub of all of the ships corridors. It was architecturally cathedral like, about 10 yards from floor to ceiling and about 100 yards from front to back, made from the same gunmetal finish with a faux stone floor. Generous well reinforced windows offered a view into space.

Under each window was a workstation, most were unmanned, as they needed only occasional attention. Some had a servitor at them – servitors being non-sentient cyborgs programmed to work menial or dangerous tasks. The pulpit had the Enginseer Primus sat upon, pleasant enough chap who worked tireless to appease the ship's machine spirit. He was himself heavily augmented in bionics, and sported the skull and cog of the adeptus mechanicus proudly over his read robes.

"Good day, Inquisitor" He called in a chipper mechanical voice as he saw the inquisitor coming down the stairs and strolling with purpose past his pulpit. Orian smiled at him and inclined his head politely as he strolled past.

A few corridors went to the cargo hold to the fore of the ship, a few went to the engines directly underneath them, one went to the hangar, a couple more went to the habitation area forward of Orian's current location. This was where he was heading, to gather those he would be taking with him on this sojourn and to give them a brief.

He opened the heavy door using a palm scanner, and was bathed in the brighter, more natural looking light beyond. He descended another flight of stairs and opened a second, lighter door to gain access to the habitation area. The habitation area was much more passenger friendly than the oratory. Grey and dark red panels hid the utilitarian gunmetal structure. The corridor that he strode into was slightly off the axis of centre axis of the ship, but went from the oratory directly forwards.

To one side were the amenities of the ship's passengers – things like the gymnasium, armoury, range, cella vulgaris, silentica, and so on. The other side were the passenger quarters. Capable of holding 50 passengers like this – it would normally be used to cater for Navy and Guard officers, or other passengers of importance. Only 9 rooms were currently in use. The crew of the ship themselves, the 30 or so who weren't servitors, had an identical arrangement a deck down.

Orian felt the slight pull of the planets gravity pulling him rearwards, a sign they had been cleared for low orbit. An encompassing mechanical winding down signalled the artificial gravity compensating. He ignored the sensation, other than to acknowledge it, and continued on to his quarters. He didn't stop to see where his entourage were, and instead placed his palm on the scanner to open the door.

Naturally as befitting his station, his quarters were the largest on the ship, and offered a direct view forwards through a large, reinforced round window. It did have shutters, but he rarely opted to deploy them. His room was about 15 yards squared and coloured in dark, sombre hues, but still managed to feel warm. His bed was in one corner, a comfortable and utilitarian furnishing. He caught the woft of wildflower from the fresh sheets as he passed it, a contented smile on his face for a few moments before returning to his deadpan norm.

His apparellium was opposite, the expansive collection of clothing it held was a source of  constant quips from his entourage. The crew themselves were generally too respectful/terrified to comment about it. He passed it as he went further. There was a powerful heater next, although it was not currently active; and beyond that the walls were lined with shelf after shelf of books, tomes and scrolls. Off to one side was his personal wash room.

He was heading thought towards the two ancient expansive wooden desks, looking back into the room from under the window. One was clear and empty with no seat, the other had a few open books upon it as well as several dataslates. A holographic projector showed the planet with several locations marked in an ominous red.

Currently his window bathed him with purple and blue reflected light from the planet. The inquisitor paused for a moment to admire the view, and sat down at the messier desk. He took his grey jumper off, showing a smart black shirt, and hanging it on the back of the chair.

He took a bottle of Eritan Rootweed from a draw on the desk and poured himself a very small glass of it. He savoured the earthen, wild and fruity smell of the beverage before he gently tipped it against his lips and swallowed. He did like the taste a lot, and this was definitely a drink that was to be savoured, not get drunk on.

He triggered a nerve impulse that activated his implanted vox link, with another selecting its frequency. He chopsied a little still from the divine aftertaste of the Rootweed, and spoke: "Good day everyone. Grigori, you may arise from your slumber now if you would be a chap. I'd like everybody except Robert in the briefing room in 20 minutes please." A various string of acknowledgements came back to him, playing back directly into his head rather than via his ears.

He popped the glass back onto his desk now that it was empty, and put away the bottle of Rootweed, lest he drink too much of the stuff that was his fondness for it. He immediately reached down for one of the dataslates, and stared at the readout with a hand to his forehead.

"The mouse in Sernusious will shy away, the lion's roar will turn to dust, and the eagle will consume the remains."

He stared at the readout for a few minutes, the green light reflecting in his eyes. A further gravitational shift caught him unawares, and he almost slipped from his chair. He was about to scold Lieutenant Carley when Robert voxxed through first. "Sorry, Sir. Had urgent instruction from atmo control to lower altitude rapidly. More important ship jumping ahead of us." The Inquisitor gave a puzzled and annoyed expression, but said nothing and turned his vox off. Perhaps he should have announced his arrival? Robert had better not have broken anything.

No. He thought to himself. He needed at least some stealth should whatever the situation was in Sernusious require such. It was much easier to lose a cover if needed than to gain one. Cracking his knuckles – he got up with a brisk haste and paced to his apparellium. He took his shirt partly off, letting it sit on his shoulders whilst he buckled his unobtrusive combat harness under it. In it was a small utility knife, the other pocket was empty for now. He also obtained one of his muted dark blue, full length survival jackets, repleat with flak armouring and changed his trousers to a flak armoured pair.

He grabbed a child-sized polymer container from the back of his apparellium and tossed in a few changes of clothes, all combat sorts and mostly similar, and a carapace armour chest piece. Pressing a button on the side of container after closing it, now full of clothing, he carried it by a handle with one hand to the other side of the room, where he opened a chute in the wall and cast the container into.

The inquisitor paused for a moment, getting the feeling he'd forgotten to pack something. He ran through the list of things he wanted and had a quick glance in the apparellium, but it was apparent that he had remembered everything. He strolled out into the corridor, securing his room behind him. The corridor was currently empty aside from himself, but he wasn't going far. The next room down, from his.

He stopped and banged hard on the door three times. Hearing nothing, as always, he scanned his palm and the door opened obediently. The inside of the room was lit only by candlelight casting flickering shadows on the walls, and a black veil was hanging on the inside of the door. The inquisitor parted the veil and stepped inside, turning a slight corner. This room was slightly smaller than his own, but had significantly fewer furnishings. One bookcase, nearly empty, and one bed. Hanging from the ceiling were further veils. Candles dotted the bare floor around the edge of the room. Sat on the bed was a slender, pale skinned woman with very long, dark brown hair. She sat facing the door with an absent-minded stare, wearing nothing but the pillow that she huddled onto. Her face was covered in the shadows from the candlelight.

"Eleanor." The inquisitor stated to get her attention.

She snapped out of her dazed state, her head bolting straight upwards to look at him. Her hair cascaded outwards as she did. Her eyes were wide, a bit like woodland animal staring into a bright light.

"Put on some clothes please." He commanded blankly.

She replied by nodding a few times, and vaulting off the bed with a front flip in the direction of her room's apparellium. The inquisitor stood and waited for a few moments whilst she fumbled to get changed. Now dressed in an offwhite and red dress, she briskly walked to the front of the inquisitor and stopped. Her delicate facial features now visible to Orian. Totally unblemished, she stared at him with her crystal blue eyes with an inquisitive expression.

"How are you feeling today?" He asked her.

She broke a very small smile and nodded at the inquisitor.

"Good" Orian smiled back an placed a hand on her shoulder. "To the briefing room please. You are coming with me to this planet."

Her eyes widened – in surprise, shock, fear and excitement all at once. Orian stepped backwards a couple of paces and opened the door for her, notioning with his head for her to exit. She complied without argument, shuffling out of the door, nearly tripping over her dress a couple of times as she turned right upon exiting. A quick yelp from her a moment later brought Orian out of the room, although in no due rush.

Eleanor had stumbled upon the most senior of his retinue, Rubens McPherson, clad in full camouflage and facepaint, having just come from the range most likely. She was against the wall with her right hand outstretched, air disturbances at her fingertips causing a lensing effect.

Rubens was still, standing with his hands lazily together in front of him. He was a few inches shorter than Orian, his hair jet black, his face starting to show his age. He looked at Orian with his brown eyes, and raised his thick eyebrows to him.

"You can stop Eleanor," Orian started, "It's Rubens."

She looked back at Orian with the frightened-like expression that she wore when she was poised for a fight, and then back at Rubens. She cautiously inspected him for a few moments with a frown. Satisfied, she stood off from the wall and continued to the briefing room as previously ordered.  Rubens' gaze followed her as she carried on, his face wore a puzzled look. Orian disregarded any potential question that the Tathainearaí might have had about the episode, instead stating "Clean your face up Rubens" as he walked passed to the armour.

"Will do!" He replied enthusiastically, trotting off to his own quarters, simultaneously removing the outer layer of his camouflage. "Be quick please." Was Orian's response as he scanned his hand on the armoury door. A large clunk signified that the door was now unlocked, and it swung open automatically after a moment.

He instantly heard that someone else was in the room already, and was unsurprised to find Caitlín Níniea stowing away a long barrelled rifle. Caitlín was from Eritan, like the Inquisitor himself. Her shoulder length copper hair was tied out of the way, and she was clad in the same forest fatigues as Rubens. She was quite short, coming up to the inquisitor's upper arm. Camoflagued paint was also covering her entire face, hiding the pretty features that she had. Her green eyes met the inquisitor's own as she bolted a cage shut that held her rifle.

"Impirra dich" she stated to the Inquisitor in her native language.

"Hello Caitlín" He replied. He was in a rush, and didn't wish to engage in a conversation with her at the moment.

"Ye need me in the breifing room as soon as poss, aye?" She stated in her thick accent.

"Please." He stated, whilst going straight to the lockers where the pistols were kept. "Clean yourself up swiftly, and make sure that you avoid Eleanor like that if you would."

"Fair." She stated as an acknowledgement. "See ye'in 5." She beamed a smarmy smile at Orian, who shook his head and grinned whilst he grabbed a machine pistol and a magazine of ammunition, putting them into his holster unloaded. Pulling his coat back over his shoulders, he paced out of the armoury in the direction of the briefing room, hitting a button on the door, it began to close itself.

The briefing room was usually always open, and as such he strolled in. The briefing room was a modest size, capable of seating 30 or so. Eleanor was sat down, looking at her clasped hands near the front of the room. Also present already were Grigori Yacolev and Lucia McRuar. Grigori was a bit of an ox of a man – slow witted but surprisingly intelligent to go with it. He was built like a cruiser, and his deadpan pokerface and bald head gave absolutely nothing away.

Lucia on the other hand, probably the youngest of his entourage, sat impatiently. Her long blonde hair neatly tied to the side, her hand resting on her stern face and her leg bobbed up and down. She was already geared in her enforcer armour. Although she wasn't an Arbite, the kit that Tathainearaí Enforcers are equipped with was remarkably similar.

Not long after Orian arrived, the final member of his troupe made himself known for the first time today – Edison Haines, another Eritan native. Although he was a bulky looking man, he was physically quite vulnerable. An unfortunate accident a few years earlier put pay to that. His black hair was a bit of a mop on his head, and he sat down in the centre of the room, in between Grigori and Lucia. Before long, all who were needed were present and correct.

Orian had remained standing whilst the 6 were arriving. He started by firing up a holo-projector with the riddle like phrase he was looking at earlier.

"The mouse in Sernusious will shy away, the lion's roar will turn to dust, and the eagle will consume the remains." he read aloud, pacing backwards and forwards behind the projector. "Tell me..." He started with an impish grin, "Who likes riddles?" His eyes narrowed with an excited smile. Turning about, he thrust his finger into the word Sernusious, the projection complaining by flickering. "The capital of this planet. Sernusious. Uttered by a psycker 2 sectors away, who admittedly was slightly off his rocker."

Orian glanced over to see perplexed looks over the assembly. Except for Eleanor of course, who was sat quietly, still looking at her hands.

"Before you state anything woefully obvious about the apparent misinformation and/or reliability issues," Orian stated, removing his finger from the projection, "this is the most coherent piece of information that we have. Honestly. Besides, I can't tell you where or from whom we extracted this. All that you must know is that we are looking to solve this." Orian swept his hand through the projection.

Grigori piped up to fill the silence. "It looks like metaphoric riddle," He said in his gruff Svitlon voice in broken gothic, "Many witch they use riddle when predicting future. We must know what are mouse, lion and eagle." He pondered, pointing a thick finger at the read out.

Orian picked up again. "I agree." He didn't really care for the term 'witch' too much, but he knew that Grigori probably knew no better. Gothic wasn't his first language.

"Now I know I am supposed to have boundless intellect and what have you," Orian carried on with a wry smile, "however, I am open to ideas."

He posed the offer to the assembled group, Eleanor was regarding the holographic display with a wonderous expression and a tilted head. The inquisitor looked at her, hopeful she might for once have something to say, but she paid no heed to him.

He got the group to talk amongst themselves for a few minutes, at least to garner some ideas about what was what. Metaphorically there were an infinite number of possibilities for each item. Could they be an individual person? Could the be a whole planet? Could they be an event?

"I'd say each would likely represent a person" Piped up Rubens, leaning forward from his seat , just as another gravity shift caused everyone to become much lighter for a moment as the ship descended.

"What by the colours are you on about McPherson?" Lucia retorted before the inquisitor had a chance to speak. 'By the colours' was a Tathainearaí expression, used similarily to 'by the throne!', "How could you come to that conclusion?"

Rubens shot a frustrated look over to the enforcer; "Through the lack of plurals" he stated with a condescending tone.

"Something I'd not have expected from you." Luica replied with a snarl.

Orian paced to the side as Rubens spat back another retort, before long the two of them were bickering profusely. Haines had got out of his seat to restrain Lucia after Rubens made a particularly sarcastic quip. "Calm yerself down ye dappy wench" Haines ordered, although he didn't get through to her.

Before long the whole room was trying to keep the two of them apart. Aside from Eleanor, who had moved herself out of the way to the side of the room, watching the ruckas with alert eyes.

The inquisitor didn't take well to such incidents, although in this instance he refused to get angry as a result. Having an idea, he beckoned Eleanor over, and obediently she came to him. He whispering something into her ear whilst the two started to trade petty slaps despite being restrained by the others. Eleanor looked at Orian a little wide-eyed, but nodded. Orian gestured to those paying attention to stand to the sides with a nonchalant wave of his hand.

Caitlín noticed his command at once. Not one to question, she dragged the other two with her. Once Grigori, Caitlín and Haines were aside, Eleanor tensed with a frowned close-eyed expression. After a moment she thrust her arms at the two and released a barrel-wave of psychic energy, causing her hair to blast backwards as if sudden hit by a gust of wind. It flung both Rubens and Lucia through the assembled chairs and quite solidly into the rear wall of the room with a crash and a thud. A couple of the nearby pieces of furniture also careening along with them and landing on top of them whilst they were in a dazed heap on the floor. The other 3 covered their faces when the blast hit, but looked a little astonished at Eleanor, and then to Inquisitor Orian.

Eleanor grimaced and looked apologetically at them both. She clearly hadn't meant to send them that far backwards. Orian boomed with an authoritative voice, "Both of you, I swear by the Emperor that I will put you both in the excruciator for the entire 666 seconds if you do not desist your silly prattling!"

The two of them picked each other up with pained expressions and aching muscles. Orian met them both with an ice cold gaze. The two shook hands as best they could, Lucia had a very dead right arm, and apologised to each other. They picked up a chair each and sheepishly sat down where they were. Rubens carefully tended to a few flesh wounds on Lucia's head.

"Thank you Eleanor, you can sit back down now." The Inquisitor stated, walking back to the front of the room. She did as she was told.

He was met with astonished stares from the other 3. "Yes?"

"I like use of witch power to bring order" Grigori nodded with a straight expression. "They both have strong arm and high head."

Orian meant his question to be rhetorical, but Grigori was at least honest. The inquisitor didn't care much for having to beat up his own entourage to get them to behave, but he was getting quite impatient with the two Tathainearaí.

"We should start literally." He stated. "I mean, with lions, mice and eagles. That's as inabstract as we can get. And to be honest, we're not going to be..." Another negative gravity shift caught him a little unawares, and he caught his breath before continuing, "...we're not going to be any use bickering up here." He last comment was aimed squarely at Rubens and Lucia, to reinforce his unimpressed mood.

A nerve impulse turned his vox on once more. "Robert, how long until we dock?".

A moment passed before the reply came, broadcasting straight into his head. "A few minutes, Sir. Need me to speed things up?"

"No need, a few minutes is fine."

"Aye, Sir."

Turning his vox off, he made a mental note to see if something could be done about the slowness of the ship's artificial gravitation field. He was starting to feel a little queezy from all of the negative G forces.

"McPherson, Níneia  – you're coming with me to the Governor. McRuar, Haines, Yacolev – I need you three to go and visit the librarium." The image of their riddle changed to a map of a city, a blinking red marker appeared with 'Librarium' over the top of it at the edge of a large courtyard. "You 3, gun yourselves up only for defending yourselves. I'm not expecting anything untoward at the librarium." He levelled a finger at the 3 as he spoke. "Níneia and Haines, you're our communication between the two groups. McPherson and Níneia, get your rifles. I'd like to make a positive impression that we mean business to the governor. We'll be using a cover to gain entry, so not a peep from either of you until we're in the governor's office please."

The 2 of them nodded. "What sord'a cover?" Caitlín asked.

Orian paused for second and then shrugged. "A duvet? I don't know yet." He got a chuckle from the room and smiled back. Afterwards, he dismissed them to get ready.

The ship came below the thin clouds of Endocant on a shallow trajectory, the tips of the vertical fins on the end of its wings causing Prandtl–Glauert singularity vapor cones to materialise. The solar panels mounted in the fins reflecting the sun's light back into the majorelle-blue sky. The weather around Sernusious was serene, befitting the planet's designation as a 'garden' world. The city itself was a network of streets, canals and low-rise buildings built from a variety of stone, mostly in a similar gothic architecture to the Archangel; stretching out beyond the horizon.

The star of the system bathed the spaceport in a steely yellow midday sun. The spaceport itself was an enormous complex. It looked like each hangar could easily fit a ship 6 times the size of the Archangel with no worries at all, and tens of these hexagonal hangars stretched off into the distance in both directions.

The ship slowed in the atmosphere, using heavy rearward engines and anti-gravitic fields to come to a speed of a few meters per second, finally touching down flawlessly with a low pitched thud that echoed about the hangar it was now in several times. The dust that was kicked up by the engines was soon blown away by the wind. A few dock-hands scurried about the landing legs of the ship, connecting all manner of cabling and tubing to its underside. The main engine of the vessel slowly powered down, cooling on its own slowly.

When the
« Last Edit: August 26, 2010, 12:34:26 AM by Jamas Orian »