Author Topic: Defiant Echoes  (Read 11116 times)

Offline Koval

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Defiant Echoes
« on: January 29, 2012, 10:37:10 AM »
PROLOGUE


===Incoming Message===
===Author: ANDREAS TUOMINEN===
===Origin: +++CLASSIFIED+++ ===
===Date: (3)031012.M42===

===Decrypting===

===Opening===

Lord Haines,

The following is a vid-capture transmitted using Inquisition security protocols, sent (2)167993.M41, received (4)871008.M42. Given your interest in ΣΘΦΡ-Interdicta, I felt it pertinent to bring to your attention.

Your faithful servant,
A.


===Open attachment?: Y/N: Y===


RECORDING COMMENCES.

[00:00:00]Scene opens to pan across a city in ruins. It is nighttime, but the sky is heavily overcast. Many of the buildings are burning. More have already collapsed. Some, having once been taller, have partially collapsed. Others are still standing, proud and tall even as the flames consume them. Still others are being overrun by unidentified figures, which are swarming like ants all around them and along all the many main roads and side streets.

[00:00:34]Vid-recorder zooms in on the largest building in the city, an Imperial cathedral with a single monolithic tower. Alone amidst the chaos, it is largely unharmed.

[00:00:41]Vid-recorder zooms in even further to focus on the crowd outside the cathedral. Most are carrying weapons; laspistols, stub guns, a few with swords and axes. Others are hefting uprooted trees or lampposts, bearing them against the doors like battering rams.

[00:00:46]An Arbites response team arrives and is instantly swarmed by the mob. The Arbitrators do not even have time to fire a shot in response.

[00:00:49]Vid-recorder zooms out and pans one hundred and twelve degrees to the right. A land-train terminus, once grand and majestic, is also in flames. Land-trains laden with passengers attempt to flee. Many refugees are clinging onto the roof and the sides of the land-trains for dear life. Some are picked off by the mob.

[00:01:14]Camera pans to the left by nine degrees and up by twenty-one. A watchtower overlooking the city, barely visible through the smoke and haze, is bringing a massive turret to bear on the land-train terminus. We see that it is a planetary defense laser, modified to widen its field of fire and allow it to aim down.

[00:01:17]The defense laser fires and the land-train terminus vanishes in a blinding flash of light.

[00:01:21]Scene returns to the mob surrounding the cathedral. Bonfires have been hastily erected and torch-bearers are setting each one alight.

[00:01:28]The crowd parts and a man calmly strolls towards the cathedral, his back facing the camera. An abnormally large zweihänder sword is on his back.

[00:01:36]The man reaches the door facing the camera, and draws his zweihänder.

[00:01:38]The man swings his zweihänder diagonally downwards, cutting straight through the cathedral doors and leaving a molten rent to mark the blade's passing.

[00:01:39]Camera zooms in on the man. His weapon appears to have a powerfield around it.

[00:01:41]Firebombs from the crowd explode against the doors.

[00:01:42]The man pushes the doors open, apparently impervious to the flames around him, and enters the cathedral. Some of the mob surges in after him. Many catch fire and burn to death, the fire beginning to spread into the mob, but more are unharmed and continue into the cathedral.

[00:01:55]Camera zooms out fully.

[00:01:57]Camera turns one hundred and seventy-six degrees to the left and a powerfully built blonde-haired human female of indeterminate age, clad in black and silver carapace armour, comes into view. She is holding the camera, a look of callous vindication on her face.

[00:02:00]The woman opens her mouth and begins to speak. Her tone is mocking, but carries with it a hint of madness.

"I am an Inquisitor. Guardian of Mankind against the alien, the mutant, the heretic, and the daemon. Wielder of the ultimate authority, executor of the Emperor's will, defender of his realm. And before me, behind me, and all around me, is a world that I did not protect."

[00:02:09]Camera returns to original position and repeats initial full-city view. The camera lingers on the cathedral for some time before continuing around.

"An accident -- one word different, a number in the wrong place -- brought me here. I thought nothing of it at the time, but the magnitude of that error grew, and grew, and eventually the consequences became too great and the world I now stand on ran out of time."

[00:02:19]A detonation to the right of the camera draws Memphis' attention. Camera swings around to the watchtower, which is now burning. The defense laser has gone.

"I thought I could save this world."

[00:02:22]Camera pans up. We see a break in the clouds, through which a Secutor-class bomber is descending.

[00:02:29]The bomber deploys its turbolaser destructors, and opens fire on former residential areas. A pair of missiles lance out from its underside into another watchtower, silencing its anti-air turrets before they can bring the bomber down.

"But one mistake brought me here, and all it took was one more to silence the only hope it ever had."

[00:02:36]The bomber launches more missiles, incendiary warheads this time, into areas that have thus far escaped the mob's fury. More bombers begin to descend.

[00:02:40]A warhead from one of the bombers ignites a distillery on the city's outskirts and the scene is illuminated for a moment by a brilliant orange fireball.

"And now, hope lies dead by my hand, and our enemy -- our true enemy -- is free to slaughter an entire world at will."

[00:02:47]More explosions rock the city's outskirts as the bombers continue to launch missiles and fire their turbolasers.

"If anyone ever sees this transmission then I urge you to look at this city, this world, as it burns, and realise that what happened here was not the work of invaders, not the work of an army, not the work of a legion from Hell. This was not the work of Nemurax. This is what happens when Humanity falls from grace and goes mad, and this is what happens when its assigned protectors take a step back, open their eyes, and see that their greatest enemy is Humanity itself."

[00:03:05]The first of the bombers apparently finishes its run and ascends, turning in mid-air and commencing a second run, straight towards the camera, which follows it as it approaches.

"This was my doing, entirely my doing."

[00:03:09]The bombs continue to fall, closer and closer.

"My name is Rowena Memphis, and I turn my back on the Emperor."

[00:03.16]Scene goes blank.


RECORDING ENDS.


===Transmission Ends===

===Reply?: Y/N: Y===

Andreas -- already seen this, but my thanks for sharing. Memphis interests me, but executed in 009, so not a major concern. Can address as/when.

M.


===Encrypting===
===Reply Sent===

===Closing===
« Last Edit: February 04, 2012, 11:45:57 AM by Koval »

Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2012, 07:06:54 PM »
===Incoming Message===
===Author: MADOC HAINES===
===Origin: +++CLASSIFIED+++ ===
===Date: (3)036012.M42===

===Decrypting===

===Opening===

Dearest Lady Hallona,

Andreas found a message in the interdiction fleet's latest transmission. For a moment I thought it was scrap code, but he managed to decipher it, and before my very eyes it turned into something decidedly sinister. I felt it worth sharing.

Attached is the fragment Andreas retrieved; I've left it encrypted because I thought you might enjoy the mental exercise.

M.


===Open attachment: Y/N?: Y===

TAEDH
RSNEK
SEEVN
RTENW
AIAYW
TTSSI
IELHL
RIITE
STAIW
IOGTN
TOKEA
UUSOR
LDANS
BMCOE
ELHOW
EENCO
ANAIG


===Transmission Ends===

===Closing===
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 07:34:25 PM by Koval »

Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2012, 09:33:13 PM »
(5)616010.M42

Id Kemar, the Kemar System


"The Blood God take you!"

Goruvich's chain-axe hammered into the daemonhost's unguarded flank and sent the abomination sprawling. Neither human nor truly a monster, the daemonhost hissed as it skidded across the hive floor, its wound venting grey smoke through a tear in the robes it wore.

"By your treacherous hand, daemon, our allies are dead! Loyal World Eaters, slaughtered like the lackeys of the corpse god! True servants of Khorne, one and all!"

"Your comrades-in-arms were of no further use to Khorne," the daemonhost answered, picking itself up. "They had fulfilled their purpose."

The daemonhost's hellblade flashed out and Goruvich's chain-axe met the blow halfway, the two weapons clashing against each other, chainsaw teeth against a blade of the Warp.

"Khorne cares not from where the blood flows," the daemonhost reminded Goruvich. "But you should be rejoicing, World Eater!"

"Your speech is poison! I will hear none of it!" Goruvich bellowed, the berserker rage taking over as he pushed the daemonhost away, bringing a flurry of blows down upon it. The daemonhost was faster, but Goruvich was a Space Marine and he was easily the stronger of the two.

"The Blood God is pleased with the sacrifice your companions made in his name," continued the daemonhost, still exuding an air of superiority even as it blocked Goruvich's attacks. "Their souls will be reborn in the Warp, joining the endless legions of Khorne! They will become like me!"

Seizing the slightest opening in Goruvich's defenses, the daemonhost slashed at Goruvich and the World Eater arrested his attack a fraction too late, the abomination's hellblade slicing straight through the head of the chain-axe and robbing Goruvich of his weapon. Roaring in defiance and rage, Goruvich leapt bodily into the daemonhost, knocking it to the floor, and hammered his fist once, twice, into its face. Smoke began to issue from the daemonhost's eyes and nose, the stink of burning meat filtering through Goruvich's helmet.

"I am a true servant of the Blood God!" Goruvich roared. "You are a vassal, a puppet bound into an empty human shell!"

The daemonhost reached out for its hellblade, but Goruvich was faster and pounded the daemonhost's hand flat before shattering its elbow for good measure.

"And as the Blood God is my witness, I will make you suffer!"

"Do you truly consider yourself so worthy of Khorne's attention that he will take note of you, a mere mortal, defeating but one of so many?" the daemonhost asked, pushing against Goruvich with its good hand.

"No," grunted Goruvich. "But he will notice this!"

Grasping the daemonhost's hellblade in his left hand, Goruvich brought it up and, half-standing, stabbed the huge weapon down through the daemonhost's face. A shocked gurgle escaped its ruptured lips, and black fluid splashed Goruvich's greave.

"I name thee Agares, Bloodletter of Khorne," Goruvich snarled, a part of him relishing every split-second that the daemon was at his mercy. "And by the power of the Blood God--"

The daemonhost was still trying to rise, sliding up its own hellblade at an impossible angle to reach out and grab Goruvich.

"--I bind thee!"

The daemonhost flopped down and went still.

Offline Dolnikan

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2012, 04:06:24 PM »
The first sensation inquisitor Anterus Semplice experienced was the pain. Every one of his days started with it and it never left him. Even when his ruined body had been amputated and replaced with machinery it didn’t stop. The tech priests had told him that it was because of the damage to his nervous system caused by the flames. He activated his eye, only the left one, his right side had suffered too much to even install a bionic replacement. He saw Karnak, who had awakened him again. The tech priest spoke: “My lord inquisitor, how are your systems?”

“They are operational, no signs of failure in the organic and mechanic parts.”

“I also see no signs of any problems, your health remains stable.”

“Good”, replied the inquisitor and he rolled his bulky mechanic body forwards. Every day started and ended in exactly the same way. First he was awakened, then he went to the chapel to pray for guidance and then he would begin his day.

Karnak followed behind him, as did a pair of servitors who served to protect the inquisitor. The chapel was empty, it always was at this time, hardly any of the ship’s crew ever saw their master and fewer still knew who he was at all. Bitter experience had shown him that secrecy was more important than anything else, the less people knew where he was the safer. He had sworn to find his would-be assassins and to punish them. He had never been capable of that, he hated himself for not remembering their faces. He did know who had sent them, but his rival was too well-guarded to strike at him, hiding behind his false purity.

On his bio-scanner he saw that a single figure entered behind him. Without turning to look he knew who it was. The last remnant of the Stratiotes project, which would have been the first step towards a new golden age for the Imperium. Humanity needed strength and he would have given it to them. Only his foolish rivals were too small-minded and petty to see it. They knew that humanity lacked the strength they need to endure, but would not see him deliver the species, they were too jealous for that.

He spoke: “Tettares, come here, how are you today?”

The slim figure of the person he saw as his daughter stood next to him. She said: “Suboptimal master, DFP levels are seventeen per cent below their standard value. I have taken two injections already and they fail to rectify the problem. The trauma suffered as part of  yesterday’s training is almost fully recovered.”

The inquisitor turned to look at her. Her pale face bore some small bruises, nothing compared to what she had looked like when she had just been hit by the combat servitor. Her dark eyes were bland and emotionless, like they should be,  emotion was a weakness and it had to be suppressed. She was dressed ostentatiously, she wore a dark blue dress decorated with gold thread and a few gemstones, her wig was a tall sculpture of blonde hair, kept together by golden pins.

Then another person entered. This was unexpected. He slowly turned to observe the newcomer. It was a runner, and he was nearly out of breath. He carried a sealed message tube from the astropath. Semplice said: “Iota Tettares, take the message and open it for me. Then put the paper in my hand.”

The girl did as she was ordered while the runner kept waiting. He dismissed the young man and carefully read the message. After going through it all several time he said: “Tettares, summon the captain to the chart room, tell him that I wish to discuss our next destination.”

Iota Tettares rushed to the bridge. On her way she encountered few crewmen, all of them did their best to get out of her way. They feared the ship’s sinister master and his daughter and heir. Of course they remained unaware of their true identities, to them the inquisitor was the rogue trader Hylas, who had lost almost everything his dynasty had ever owned.

Tettares reached the bridge. It was calm and empty like it always was when in port. The few officers that were present bowed to her, they all knew that someday she would become their master. A young lieutenant smiled at her. Tettares understood that it meant that he attempted to court with her, but she did not have such feelings, the inquisitor did not allow her to. She asked: “Where is the captain? there are things I must discuss with him.”

The lieutenant replied immediately: “My lady, he is currently in his quarters, may I escort you there?”, offering her his arm.

“You may not, lieutenant. Your position is here and you should never leave your post for such frivolous pursuits.”

The man looked sad but Tettares didn’t notice. She continued to the captain to deliver his orders.
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Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2012, 06:20:36 PM »
I can't remember the last time I felt anything.

Fear, anger, hatred, all as alien to me, as unknowable, as the mindset of a sorcerer. Neither do I feel mirth or joy as I used to, or the ecstatic devotion Goruvich displays almost constantly, or even the base desire to kill that the Ancient possesses.

But neither do I feel regret, or shame, or resentment. I suppose that is a good thing, at least.

I had emotions once. I must have done, when I was younger, in a time before the Eternal War devastated the galaxy. A younger me might have longed for those days of glory, when Lord Angron walked the world as a mortal man, when we still swore fealty to a golden Emperor, when Mankind was on the cusp of galactic dominance.

Then came Lord Horus' treason, and we, XII Legion, followed him. It was simple. Lord Angron's frustrations with the Emperor became too much even for the Primarch to bear, and he found release under a new master, bowing on bended knee to the Skull Throne of Khorne. Those of us who were loyal to Lord Angron began to worship the Master of Skulls, and those that did not were slain. I was in the former category, a mere Techmarine at the time of the Great Heresy, and I suppose I derived some sort of pleasure from gunning down those whose loyalty to Lord Angron failed them.

We, the World Eaters, fought at the side of Lord Horus, against the Emperor on Terra, and without wishing to tell a tale that others tell better, we lost. Lord Angron retreated, famously being the last to withdraw from Terra, and XII Legion understood the shame of defeat.

I was there at Terra. I prepared the great war-engines, I serviced the guns, I repaired what the Emperor's servants destroyed. I watched the Legio Mortis stride into battle, and knew the honour of standing in the Dies Irae's shadow as it led the charge against the Imperial Palace. I killed men and Space Marines alike, presumably getting a thrill as I snuffed out life after life with my plasma gun. Then it overheated, and I must have felt absolute horror as my hands dissolved in nuclear fire, then a burning desire for bloodshed when I walked out of the Apothecarion with new hands of metal.

But we fled in shame, and the ignominy of defeat was bitter in all of our mouths. Some got over it quickly, the Berserkers we lobotomised to enhance their killing instincts, and remove their fear and their inhibitions. Others, those of us who still thought as rational beings -- and since the consequences of the entire XII Legion becoming Berserkers would be disastrous, there were only too many of us with working brains -- were still resentful for some time, and understandably so. Many turned to the direct worship of Khorne, shedding the blood of Imperial loyalists in his name for the sake of catharsis. Others continued to stew in their hatred and bitterness until it became almost palpable, like an aura radiating from them, growing in potency the longer they sat and brooded.

Came the Battle of Skalathrax, I had had enough of my kin. When Khârn shattered XII Legion almost single-handedly, the survivors formed hundreds of splinter factions and warbands, and I found myself fought over by hundreds of disenchanted World Eaters, each wanting me for themselves. A Techmarine must have seemed like a living relic to them. They wanted me for my understanding of the Machine. With me on their side, they might have risen in prominence and gained Khorne's favour, standing at the head of an army, each warrior well-equipped and his wargear serviced by the very best.

I would have none of it. I was not some servant to a madman, nor some tool to be used and then cast away.

So I killed them all, and in doing so, I destroyed myself in a storm of blood.

I suppose I have lived this way for the last ten thousand years. I have wandered, and killed, and pillaged, and sustained myself for so long, because there is nothing else. I excised my own emotions because they were in the way. The fact that I am even alive is but an afterthought.

The war is meaningless. Goruvich may revel in slaughter, and the Ancient may speak with the Blood God in his madness, but there is nothing else, nothing left for me except slaughter.

This is who I am.

I died at Skalathrax, and now I exist only to kill and to make myself whole once more.

Offline Inquisitor Octavian Lars

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2012, 08:20:34 PM »
I marched down the well lit corridors of the Hammer of Justice, pompous, but brisk. Captain Wagner had informed me that we would be translating to real-space over ΣΘΦΡ-Interdicta. I did not plan to miss von Karajan’s translation symphony, a personal favourite of mine. Da dum dee dum bum bom, bob-de bum. Sorry, I got distracted there, ΣΘΦΡ-Interdicta intrigues me, as does Inquisitor Memphis. I recall her name from somewhere. I believe she was executed as a heretic many years back. I soon reached the bridge; it is a resplendent thing, with Karajan and his orchestra already starting to play. I recall them playing the grand march of the emperor when the re-translation jolt shook the ship. They then began to play the much vaunted translation symphony. A masterpiece before it’s time, the translation symphony was based on many ancient terran classics. I called up a holographic display of the planet and located points that would be of interest.
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Offline Herald

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2012, 09:44:26 PM »
009.M42

Inquisitor Gelert Hesh certainly had expensive tastes if the level of ornamentation in his antechamber was anything to go by. Ambrose found his attention particularly drawn to a copy of Del Blanche’s ‘Heretics in Purgatory’ which adorned the wall to the right of the large doors through which he had entered. Although not one for leniency towards heretics Ambrose did find the depiction a little too fiery for his tastes but nevertheless was absorbed in examining the brushwork when the doors at the opposite end of the chamber swung open.

“Inquisitor Barkley?” Asked a man that Ambrose took to be Inquisitor Hesh.

“Please, call me Ambrose.”

Hesh’s raised eyebrow suggested he had no intention of doing anything of the sort and he continued to speak formally.

“My apologies for keeping you waiting, please, do come in.” He gestured behind him into his study and Ambrose followed him in.

“I appreciate you must be a busy man Inquisitor so I shan’t keep you long.”

Ambrose nodded and nervously pushed his spectacles back up his nose. Hesh had the muscular build of a trained fighter and his natural authority made Ambrose somewhat uncomfortable as he always did in the presence of his peers. He could never adjust to viewing them as equals, after all he doubted he exuded the same air of natural authority or had quite the same menace in his scrawny frame.

“I have in my custody a heretic, Rowena Memphis, who needs to be executed. Unfortunately she is also an Inquisitor. The execution of one of our own is not something to be undertaken lightly and so there is understandably protocol to be observed. Quite simply Inquisitor I simply need you to support my accusation of heresy.”

“Very well, I will of course need to look over the evidence and evaluate the case which may take some time. I’d also appreciate being able to interview her as I’m heavily involved in assessing the motivations that heretics have for turning from His grace.”

“Surely knowing that a heretic is a heretic is enough?”

“To condemn them yes, but by assessing their motivations it may perhaps be possible to predict who is likely to succumb to heresy and even prevent it happening.”

“There’s really no need her heresy is quite obvious, she has turned her back on the Emperor and must pay the penalty, her reasoning is of no importance. I simply need your signature.”

“All the same,” Ambrose responded rather timidly, “without wishing to cause offence, I feel it would be rash of me to simply take your word for it.”

Hesh sighed making Ambrose feel that what seemed to him a perfectly reasonable request was in some way unreasonable or unexpected.

“Very well, there simply isn’t the time to review all the evidence and an interview with her is simply out of the question. She is too dangerous to be merely kept in custody, but hopefully this will convince you that I’m speaking the truth.”

Hesh touched a section of his desk and Ambrose turned to see that a projected vid-capture had appeared on the wall.

“This recording was made several years ago on ΣΘΦΡ-Interdicta”

The camera panned across a ruined city before focussing on a powerfully built, blonde woman in carapace armour.

"I am an Inquisitor. Guardian of Mankind against the alien, the mutant, the heretic, and the daemon. Wielder of the ultimate authority, executor of the Emperor's will, defender of his realm. And before me, behind me, and all around me, is a world that I did not protect.

The camera cut to show the ruined city again as she continued.

“My name is Rowena Memphis, and I turn my back on the Emperor."

The projection went black and Hesh waited a moment in silence for the last few words to sink in then touched the desk again and the projection disappeared.

“Will you support my accusations, Inquisitor Barkley?”

He didn’t feel he had a choice.

« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 10:21:00 PM by Herald »
“A man who joins the Inquisition a radical has no faith, a man who leaves it a puritan has no sense”.

Offline Dolnikan

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2012, 06:15:45 PM »
Iota Tettares stood next to the captain on the bridge of the Unbroken. She was the only person on the bridge to look entirely calm. Transferring back to the Materium was always a risky proposal. The inquisitor had sent her to the bridge to ensure the loyalty and obedience of the officers when they would become aware of his plans. He had told her that when any of them was giving in to fear she was to execute him as a traitor and to promote someone to replace him.

One of the servitors attached to the cogitator banks spoke slowly with a mechanical voice: “Calculated retranslation destination reached.”

Hyrule Gol, the ship’s captain gave the order all were waiting for: “Translate back to the materium.”

The bridge immediately became a flurry of activity. All the officers were shouting orders but nothing went wrong and with a screeching noise the ship returned to the natural universe. Gol said: “Lieutenant Gavod, are we where we should be?”

The same lieutenant who had attempted to court Iota before replied sounding confused: “Sir, we are in an interdicted system. It is noted on our charts but we should not be here.  We have to leave.”

He was immediately by the communications officer: “Sir, I am receiving automated signals on all frequencies that all ships are to leave immediately, failure to comply will be met by force.”

Iota’s grip tightened on the grip of her pistol. This was the critical moment. Gol said, sweating profusely: “We will not leave. Our master has given clear orders. We are here secretly and have to slip past the interdiction fleet.”

“But you cannot be serious sir, this system is forbidden space for all ships, if the navy finds us they will kill us all.” Replied the communications officer.

Iota spoke monotonously: “You are to obey my father. Failure to obey is insubordination and that will not be accepted.”

The officer rose to his feet: “But you cannot force us all to commit suicide.”

A single shot rang out and the man collapsed. All present were looking on incredulously. Iota said: “Follow your orders, be a loyal servant and you will be rewarded. Treason will be punished. Bring us to our objective, captain.”

Gol swallowed before giving his orders: “Shut down all non-essential systems, do not start the engines, scan passively for the locations of the fleet.”
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Offline Herald

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2012, 05:20:15 PM »
“So why now, Inquisitor?” Asked Redvers Sid as Ambrose studied the board in front of him and wondered how to extricate himself from yet another of the former-General’s cunning traps.

“Well, Inquisitor Hesh was less than forthcoming with information about her and I felt there had to be something behind her heresy. After all this isn’t a power-hungry noble or someone who could have perceived themselves as neglected by the Imperium. She was an Inquisitor what could possibly have motivated her to turn her back on the very system she had sworn to protect? At the time I was too busy with the aftermath of the Brier’s Investigation, which dragged on for so long, to do any proper digging. Anyway now that I have some time on my hands I felt it prudent to follow up anything I could find on Rowena Memphis.”

Ambrose moved his marine to take one of Sid’s guardsmen a decision he regretted when the marine was quickly taken by the covering inquisitor.

“And? What have you found?”

“Nothing.” A description both of what he had found on Memphis and his current options in the game. “She was executed in 009, which I knew already having given my support for her execution, and before that she was Ordo Hereticus. If the official records or anything to go by she did nothing of note.”

“They’ve been tampered with?” Asked Redvers, somewhat surprised.

“So it would appear. Probably by someone on the inside.” Ambrose took the inquisitor with his primarch which was promptly taken by Sid’s fortress.

“So what are you hoping to find by coming here?”

“Probably nothing, but it’s the only lead I have and something about the whole situation doesn’t seem right.” The weariness in his voice mirrored his actions as he took Sid’s fortress with his emperor.

“Ok so what of the planet? Why is the system interdicted?” asked Sid, changing track as he absentmindedly moved a guardsman forwards.

“That’s also drawn a blank, something in 993 involving Memphis but whether that then caused the system to be declared interdicta I can only speculate.” Said Ambrose as he took the carelessly placed guardsman with his remaining marine.

Sid closed the trap by taking Ambrose’s marine with his second inquisitor, cornering his Emperor and winning the game. He sat back with a smug grin of victory.

“So nobody official wants to talk about Memphis and nobody wants to talk about the planet?”

“Exactly, but planet-side someone unofficial might know something of use. Unfortunately with the system being interdicta we need to go in officially to avoid getting killed on the edges of the system.”

“You have a plan I assume?”

“Sort of, obviously I can’t formulate anything exact till I know the situation planet-side but the plan is for me to pursue an official line of investigation while Milo, under your supervision and possibly with Jethro’s help if completely necessary, pursues an unofficial investigation.”

“Two problems. Firstly with the three of us investigating unofficial leads you’re left exposed without protection if anything goes wrong. Secondly if you start officially poking around it may cause some of the unofficial sources to clam up.”

“For once, Redvers, I’m a step ahead of you. Carson will lend me a couple of his security detail for my protection and I won’t be investigating Memphis, I’ll be investigating Moritz Kahn, a suspected smuggler of xenos artefacts believed to have snuck passed the interdiction fleet to hide here.”

*****

The Graceful Prosperity made the transition back into real space with minimal fuss the sprint trader’s crew having done the manoeuvre innumerable times. The Prosperity’s experienced captain Carson Bors didn’t start to worry until warning lights began to flash as the ship registered multiple target lock.

“Inquisitor?” He asked, “We appear to have entered interdicted space?”

“Oh yes, didn’t I tell you? It’ll be fine, just broadcast these codes, they’ll identify you as an ship in the service of the Inquisition.”

The captain breathed a sigh of relief. He didn’t mind working for the inquisitor, not that he had a choice, but sometimes he wished that he was given some form of prior warning when putting his ship and crew at risk.
“A man who joins the Inquisition a radical has no faith, a man who leaves it a puritan has no sense”.

Offline Inquisitor Octavian Lars

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2012, 06:17:22 PM »
After the tribulation of a successful translation, Captain Wagner noted that there were several military vessels, each broadcasting automated messages stating that the world was out of bounds to all. I ordered helm to put me through, sight and sound to the captain of a lunar class cruiser by the name of “Asculum” captained by the esteemed vice-admiral Cairn Burnet. When his image came through on the holomat, he was exactly as I expected. Tall, arrogant and proud. In many ways, he reminded me of myself, an aged servant of the Imperium.
“Who are you and what is your business on ΣΘΦΡ-Interdicta? This planet is off limit to those without the authority of the holy Inquisition for this sector. State your business or prepare to be destroyed by the might of the Emperor’s Navy.”
He commanded power from those who heard him, but my train of thought was cut off by a cry from the scanner station;

“We have another cruiser and 5 escorts inbound, Inquisitor, Captain what are your orders?”

Both myself and Wagner spoke simultaneously both disagreeing with Wagner calling to ready the guns, stating that a Dominator was a match for their fleet piecemeal, while I felt the matter called for diplomacy.
In that time, Burnet had spoken again,
“Is the inquisition normally this riven with indecision?”
“Actually, yes though we are rarely open with it. My captain was merely reacting to the circumstances as he would in combat. I am Inquisitor Holst, hero of terra masterminded the purges of Grateful death and the hero of Death’s Gap, here with the authority of Inquisitors Hesh and Filipowski” I motioned to Wagner who bellowed:
“Ready the nova cannon, await my order to fire! If they deny us landfall they will come to regret the day they crossed an Imperial Inquisitor”
“Of course, mighty Inquisitor. You may land whenever required.”
I cut off the holo-link and ordered the nova cannon to stand down.
Velterax III
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2012, 12:37:11 AM »
A man in grey robes moved slowly along the corridor, a dataslate clutched under his arm. The twitching movement of the folds of his hood showed he was carefully assessing each of the servitors dotted around the corridors. His movements deferred to them - while they were the lower servants, he stepped around them even before their half mechanical brains had recognised he was there.

Reaching up with his free hand, he pulled down his baggy hood. The face below was young, the result of the light juvenat work one would expect of an Inquisitor's servant of barely more than fifty standard years. But there was something about the sheen of the eyes he presented to the retinal auspex that said the soul within was one of many more years.

The auspex took a few seconds to consider the nuances of the blood vessel patterns at the rear of his eyes before matching him to the scarce database it had. The soft ping of confirmation was lost beneath the sounds of the lock mechanism of the door beside.

Two thick metal doors shifted, revealing a generously decorated room beyond that was a stark contrast to the corridor that it opened out to. The most astounding thing about the room was that despite the floor appearing to drop two feet down to a massive tapestry of several Imperial saints, everything within appeared to have ignored this fact, hanging perfectly in mid-air.
The desk made of obsidian darker than midnight, the many cabinets, the shelves supporting the manifest representations of memories each more bizarre than the last, the holo-table, even the woman in the blue dress - not one of them touched the floor.

The man, however, showed no hesitation in stepping into thin air. Exactly as he knew would happen, his foot hit the twelve inch thick layer of perfectly non-refractive glass that gave the room its unusual air.
It was here that he stood, waiting as the doors shut behind him.

The woman span her hand in the air, the holo-table reacting to the movement and showing a different angle of the fleet movements it was projecting.

   "Are you going to stand there all day, or did you have a reason for coming to speak to me?", her  voice had a hint of amusement.
   "Lady Hallona, I took the liberty of analysing the ΣΘΦΡ-Interdicta distress…"
   "Jael, let's just shorten that to Sigma-Interdicta, shall we? Please?"

The Inquisitrix glanced over sideways at the Savant, hand raised, head slightly cocked and lips wearing a subtle smile.

   "As you command, my lady. I ran the Sigma-Interdicta distress signal through basic cryptanalysis in case it was an attempt to conceal further messages such as those in the cipher from the interdiction fleet."
   "Hmm. I don't know what to say about that.", she turned towards him, thinking.
   "The analysis? If I have overstepped my bounds…"
   "No, not at all!", she laughed, "I wholly applaud your initiative. I mean the fleet code… cipher? Whichever it should be."
   "Cipher, my lady."
   "Thank you. My concern is that it came, or appeared to come, from the interdiction fleet. What should be an Imperial vessel. I want to know why."
   "So the fleet is to be our first port of call, my lady?"
   "Out of concern for the distress signal, yes. But I will have Colonel Morton handle the business of the fleet's own transmissions."

She gestured over her shoulder at the many wireframe representations of ships circling behind her.
   "The fleet is nearly a score of ships, and Tama is better with all that military formality. Navy brass get up my nose no end, pompous fethers the lot of them… and that is a nugget you are not to relate to Lord-Captain Mason."
   "Of course not, my lady."
   "Thank you. Anyway, I interrupted you - did you find anything in the signal?"
   "Not at first glance. That is not to say that it couldn't house codephrases. But I did check for incidences of common codewords known to be used by heretic cells and secret organizations. There were matches, but given the number of potential terms, entirely within the bounds of coincidence."
   "With the number of cells and organizations in this sector, I'd have been more concerned if you'd found no matches."
   "Indeed, my lady. But it has marked out potential suspects that further evidence may further prove or disprove. If I may?"
He stepped forward, holding out a dataslate - the glowing green runes on the screen merely the first twenty or so of a great many potential matches. Riley took the device, scrolling through the first few pages of the list.

   "Abssyn Convergence? I thought I'd put every one of those heretics to the sword myself."
   "Their presence on the list is merely for completeness, my lady."
   "This is good work, Jael. I'll have Inquisitor Haines take a look at it and see if any of the names on the list spark anything in his mind. Perhaps they've come up amongst his research."
   "Thank you, my lady.  However, I must confess that I am left with an overwhelming sense that there is something I've overlooked."
   "You should trust your instincts.", she said, before hurriedly adding, "But do not let it trouble you unduly. The Emperor will provide you with the insights you truly need."
   "Thank you, my lady. If I may be excused?"
   "Of course."

The savant bowed and left, leaving the Inquisitrix alone. She sighed wearily - her logic told her that he was suffering no more than ghost memories from his implanted mem-engrams. Her paranoia told her that he was right - something had been forgotten. After all, this was a forbidden world. It had secrets that even the Inquisition didn't know.

How, with that hanging over all, could nothing have been overlooked?
S.Sgt Silva Birgen: "Good evening, we're here from the Adeptus Defenestratus."
Captain L. Rollin: "Nonsense. Never heard of it."
Birgen: "Pick a window. I'll demonstrate".

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Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2012, 07:49:06 PM »
"You're sure it wasn't scrap code?"

"Positive, my lord," Andreas answered, popping his head over the barricade for just long enough to fire his pistol. As far away as Andreas was, his shot landed perilously close to the enemy fireteam and they ducked for cover.

"I don't even want to think about what it says this time,"
Haines sighed, squeezing his massive frame between two sandbags. "The number of clandestine organisations I've encountered that have referred to a vague "darkness" in their threats is just staggering. I couldn't help but wonder--"

"Inquisitor," Andreas prompted him. "They're about to go over the top again."

"Right you are," Haines grunted, rising to take aim at a grey-helmeted head rising over the enemy barricade. A quick four-shot burst from Haines' rifle put the unfortunate soldier out of the fight for good, and his fellows were sufficiently skittish to return to cover. Haines dropped back down.

"Do you have any grenades left, Andreas?"

"Just the one, my lord. Though unless we're absolutely certain that it'll have some effect, I'd advise against using it."

"And how much ammo?"

"Three cells. Which is three more than you have, my lord," Andreas sniped, flinching as one of the enemy troopers took a pot-shot at the barricade.

"It's hardly my fault that this thing only does fully automatic," Haines grumbled, scowling at his rifle.

"A deliberate decision on my part. My lord is certainly free and easy with his ammo reserves."

"Andreas," Haines warned his aide, leaning over the top and firing another four-shot burst at the enemy position. Unfortunately the enemy had already retreated behind cover and his shots succeeded only in striking rockrete.

"I'm not wrong. You need to keep practising your controlled bursts, especially after Valmard Minor."

"Those idiots had left a multilaser out in a snowstorm. Are you really that surprised that it went from full charge to zero in seconds?"

Andreas didn't reply instantly, instead spotting a flicker of movement and reacting to it with a flash of his pistol. He was rewarded for his efforts with a cry of pain and the sight of a grey-clad body falling to the floor.

"Now then, my lord, I believe we were telling each other about coded messages?" Andreas reminded Haines.

"Andreas, by the time you get to my age, you start to wonder if cults are getting dumber, or just less imaginative in their coded threats," Haines answered. "Unless this one says anything different."

"Their cryptographer certainly isn't lacking in imagination or intellect if he can route them through Battlefleet Pacificus' astropaths," Andreas pointed out. "But you're right. Strip away the rhetoric and what's left could as easily be the work of the Geminate Diarchy as of the Blank Dawn or the Knights of Savagery."

Andreas stood up and fired at another enemy soldier, but caught three lasbolts in the chest for his troubles. He fell down, coughing.

"Ow," he added absent-mindedly.

"Give me that grenade," Haines urged Andreas.

"You'll end up missing," Andreas spluttered, dropping his pistol, "but I'm down and out."

Andreas planted the grenade in Haines' massive fist and in an instant the Inquisitor primed it, lobbing it towards the enemy barricade. The remaining troopers tried to flee, and one actually made it up and out, but the grenade had fallen short and the unlucky trooper that had gone over the top vanished in a burst of smoke.

By the time the remaining soldiers had realised what had happened, Haines had crossed no man's land and emptied his rifle into their bodies.

And then it was over, and Lieutenant Geester was getting up slowly, applauding. The other troopers were also getting to their feet, standing to attention in the Inquisitor's presence, and on the other side of the training hall, Andreas was already climbing over the barricade, still wheezing like an Enginseer with a bad oxy-filter.

"Well done, my lord," Geester stated, bowing as Andreas joined them.

"Well done? There were five of you and two of us," Haines observed. "You should have been more than able to take us out, Lieutenant."

"My lord, I... did not want to cause offense by wounding you," Geester answered, wrong-footed.

"These things cause a mild sting at best, Lieutenant," Haines reminded him, waving his training rifle in front of Geester. "If I were your enemy in live combat, and if you had full-powered lasguns, you wouldn't hesitate to shoot me. You would pull that trigger and you would blow my brains out through the back of my skull. You're a soldier. Act like it."

"My lord?"

"You need to train harder, Lieutenant Geester," Haines told him. "The next time I join your training regime, I expect you to be ready to fight me."

Without saying another word, Haines turned and left the training hall, Andreas hot on his heels.

"My lord is ever concerned for the well-being of his manservant," Andreas remarked pointedly as they took a left down a side corridor.

"Don't tell me that flashlight actually hurt you," Haines scoffed.

"I am sure that even you would notice three in the chest at once, my lord."

"It does you good, Andreas," Haines reminded his servant. "Your marksmanship skills are improving, by the way. I saw you take down a few of them in there."

"All the better to assist my lord when he is too encumbered to carry his plasma pistol."

"Your sense of humour, however, still needs work."

"I haven't had any practice for weeks," Andreas shrugged. "Those messages have demanded most of my attention. And if Lord Tiberius has been catching stray transmissions while it's been listening to the planet, then we need to find out the reason, and I'm still trying to work out why. Or how."

"Maybe Lady Hallona's had a few ideas," Haines replied absently as they took another left towards the mess hall.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 02:55:25 PM by Koval »

Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2012, 02:03:03 AM »
The ship quaked as it forced itself through the veil between realities. Riley paid relatively little attention as she continued with her work, the transition a familiar experience in her years aboard the Sword of Integrity.

It was, therefore, approximately half an hour later before she raised her head from her neatly written parchment notes, interrupted by the quiet trill of the ship's comms. She reached across the obsidian desk to press the blinking red stud and the holo-table's projections of orbital paths resolved into a three foot tall representation of the face of the ship's captain.

   "Arkus.", she addressed him.
   "Madam Inquisitor. We transmitted your Inquisitorial clearance codes shortly after re-entering the materium. The response comes from the fleet's commanding officer, Vice-Admiral Cairn Burnett, himself, and requires your attention."

Both of the Inquisitrix's eyebrows raised slightly, a sign the captain took as an excuse to carry on.

   "He reports that you are the third - and fourth, if you include Lord Haines - of the Inquisitors within the system at present. He wishes to extend his personal greetings and an invitation for both you and Madoc to meet and dine with him aboard the Asculum."
   "Serendipity.", a smile appeared on her lips, "Yes, confirm his invitation. And do so on Lord Haines' behalf too - I'm sure he has reason to speak with the Vice-Admiral. Even if not, he's been a guest on my ship for the last month, he will at least do me that courtesy."
   "Will he now?", the captain laughed.
   "Yes.", she cut off his guffaw, "How long will it take us to reach orbit?"
   "We made a near jump -  the navigator triumvirate did a good job. At present speed and allowing for deceleration from interplanetary velocity, only a little over three days."
   "Very well. Will that be all?"

The hologram nodded, fading back into a projection of ΣΘΦΡ-Interdicta.

Riley got up, reaching for the dataslate Jael had given her. It was probably time to show it to Haines - and tell him they had dinner plans.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2012, 02:05:27 AM by MarcoSkoll »
S.Sgt Silva Birgen: "Good evening, we're here from the Adeptus Defenestratus."
Captain L. Rollin: "Nonsense. Never heard of it."
Birgen: "Pick a window. I'll demonstrate".

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Offline Koval

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2012, 09:47:38 PM »
"You're shafting me."

"My lord sounds positively astonished at the idea of dining with a beautiful lady," Andreas remarked as he secured Haines' bolt pistol inside the arms coffer.

"I'm astonished that you feel it necessary to invite yourself along, you clown,"
Haines huffed, linking the cuffs on his dress tunic.

"My apologies. I shall endeavour to analyse Vice-Admiral Burnett's observations and match them against your own over a vid-feed,"
Andreas answered pointedly. "Or you can have me in the room with you, so that you do not lose face in front of Vice-Admiral Burnett and Lady Hallona when they inevitably find themselves three steps ahead of you."

"Andreas!"

"In any case, having your loyal manservant attend your needs creates the impression of seniority and authority -- two things that you need in abundance when dealing with a Navy officer that no doubt feels extremely bitter from having been effectively sidelined upon his assignment to the interdiction fleet," Andreas continued, stowing three magazines away beside the bolt pistol. "And if Lady Hallona is bringing her own entourage then I see very little sense in leaving me behind on the Sword of Integrity."

"When you put it like that..."

"I knew that my lord would see reason," Andreas grinned. "Now, if my lord would be so kind as to...?"

"The hammer?"

"The last time I tried lifting it, I dropped it on my foot and broke it, and needed an auto brace just to walk."


Andreas stepped out of the way as Haines picked the thunder hammer up in both hands and placed it in the arms coffer. Initially designed for a large rifle and two pistols, plus several spare magazines for each, the arms coffer also accommodated Haines' giant thunder hammer quite comfortably, though the oblong crate barely had any room left for Haines' bolt pistol and hand flamer once the hammer was secured.

"Will my lord be wearing his plasma pistol to dinner, or should I carry it?"
Andreas asked, closing the lid and locking it.

"Since we're talking about making an impression on the good Vice-Admiral, I think I shall carry it," Haines answered. "Besides which, with your data-slates and that coffer, I doubt you'll have enough hands for everything."

"Very well. If my lord will hold still...?"


Andreas retrieved Haines' plasma pistol, still in its holster, and as Haines stood up, Andreas reached down to affix it to his belt. He paused, feeling something uncomfortably hard beneath Haines' tunic.

"Armour?" Andreas queried.

"After that little fiasco with the Grey Aquila Temple, did you really expect anything less?"


"I suppose not," Andreas shrugged.

"Didn't think so. Where did Lady Hallona say she'd meet us?"


"Deck 57, port side, near the bust of Saint Jowen by the officers' quarters."


"Meet me there in twenty minutes,"
Haines instructed. "And don't forget this time that the coffer has suspensors."

"It won't take twenty minutes to get to Deck 57," Andreas pointed out.

"No it won't, but you have to change as well," Haines countered. "Unless you plan to dress like a pauper to meet the Vice-Admiral."

Andreas paused and looked down at his rather well-worn beige shirt and trousers.

"My lord has a point," he conceded, hurriedly searching for a change of clothes as Haines adjusted his cufflinks and left the room.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2012, 10:01:35 PM by Koval »

Offline Dolnikan

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Re: Defiant Echoes
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2012, 02:02:54 PM »
 Inquisitor Semplice had positioned himself behind the pilot of his personal shuttle. It was an Ascanius Class Orbital Lander originally built on Bashrok. He had made use of it for almost a century and the interior had been refitted for his needs. Magnetic clams had been installed to keep him in place and the cargo bay had been redesigned to carry his personal staff and supplies for several Terran months.

Those he had chosen to accompany him were seated around him. To his left sat Gophian Dall who was wearing a fine suit of armour made of interlocking blue and yellow plates. He had combed his long grey hair to fall perfectly around his face, and to cover the bald spot he was developing on the back of his head.

Next to him was Karnak who had taken a seat for the launch. He looked the same as always, his entire body hidden by his dark red robes. He had brought his apprentice along with him, Nogal. A recently inducted priestess of the machine. She bore no visible augmentations yet.

On the other side sat Pantariste who was wearing the black carapace armour of her former regiment. The fully enclosed helmet over her face. The only difference the removal of all markings which could identify her. The seat next to hers was empty. It was meant for Iota Tettares but she was sleeping after having remained on the bridge for eight days without sleeping even once.

Captain Gol’s voice rang out from the caster: “We are approaching the launch site.”

“Good, your orders are clear. Hide behind Madim, the gas giant. Take a stationary orbit and wait until you are summoned. Do not leave your position unless you are forced to take a new hiding place by fleet movements.”

Almost a full day later the lander was approaching the interdiction fleet. They were moving towards the planet at high speed. The engines still had not been turned on and most of the passengers had already gone to rest once and had returned. The warships were actually visible as pins of light. Semplice knew that if they were spotted they would be destroyed by the powerful guns in mere moments.

 Luckily they passed without being noticed but then Semplice noticed a small pinprick of light. Zooming in on it he saw that it was a Fury class interceptor. The pilot had not yet noticed it. Semplice activated his vox unit: “Iota Tettares, replace pilot Ascanius. He will be tired of the long flight.”

Iota Tettares immediately moved towards the pilot’s seat who gladly stood up to go away to rest. As soon as she was seated the inquisitor continued: “There is a fury interceptor moving up towards us. Do you see it?”

“Yes my lord.”

“Take no action until I say so. But be prepared to escape into the atmosphere.”
Circles of the wise My attempt at writing something, please comment on it if you have any advise.