This is the opening to my campaign I am currently working on.
Please comment and critique.
The crunch of broken glass penetrated intrusively into the silence as Inquisitor Lucius Drachtenburg paced across the debris-strewn chamber. Hoisting the bloodied and dazed ganger from the floor, he asked for the last time:
“Where is it, Postyl?”
Postyl gurgled something unrecognisable through broken teeth as a line of blood and spittle oozed down his chin. His face a mess of shallow cuts and lacerations, both hands restrained firmly behind his back.
“If I show you…” He managed.
“Your death will be swift. Far swifter than you deserve.” Drachtenburg answered.
The dishevelled gang member hacked more blood from his mouth in short, sharp convulsions. He was laughing. Drachtenburg grew tired of this. Seizing the back of Postyl’s head once more, he calmly and forcefully rammed it through the fourth and final intact security monitor screen. Sparks and shards of glass erupted outwards as the hive dweller’s head was withdrawn from the destroyed apparatus, blood soaked and twitching. The Arbites Occularum room was a maelstrom of broken furniture, scattered papers and smouldering cogitator units. The result of the past three minutes of “questioning” Drachtenburg had carried out. No doubt the two Adeptus Arbites officers behind the reflec-screen were already calling for their seniors.
The Inquisitor dropped the gang member back onto the only intact chair in the chamber and slowly withdrew an ornately decorated shotgun from the shadows of the room. Postyl’s eyes narrowed as Drachtenburg placed the cold metal barrel against his sweating forehead.
“I can take you to it.” He managed to whisper through his battered lips.
There was a buzz and a click.
“Lord Inquisitor.” Blared the vox unit. “My senior requests that the captive be kept alive. He also wishes to inform you that another…”
In a blur of motion and a blast of noise and smoke, Drachtenburg disgorged a shell into the vox unit, once again littering the room with yet more debris. Postyl squealed. A scrape of chairs was heard from behind the reflec-screen.
“I can take you there! I swear!” hissed the shaking ganger, ears ringing from the blast.
“If you mislead me…” Warned Drachtenburg.
“I die, yes!” Postyl cut in.
The door burst open and two armed Arbitrators were edging towards the centre of the smoking chamber, shields raised. Their neatly pressed black and red uniforms a stark contrast to the dull ghostly grey interior of the room’s walls.
“Lord Inquisitor, the Dictates Imperialis decrees that captives of the Adeptus Arbites are under our jurisdiction. I am therefore ordered to remove the said captive back to his cell where he will await execution at the appointed hour.” Reeled off the first officer as if reading from text.
“I do not submit to Arbitrator dogma, officer. This man comes with me.” Drachtenburg indicated Postyl with a casual wave of the smouldering shotgun.
“But lord...” The Arbite began
Drachtenburg’s bionic right eye glowered like a ruby-red jewel from the burnished silver plate covering half his face. He slowly and deliberately raised and reloaded his firearm, careful to display the stylised “I” engraved on its broad flank.
“He comes with me.”
The brazen and hulking form reflected the dim glow-globes with a golden lustre as Inquisitor Hector Ro´dox paced across the restored chamber. His bronze armour detailed with inscriptions of holy writ and symbols of devotion. Hoisting the shaking Arbites officer from his chair, he asked for the last time:
“Where is he, Kyle?”
The Arbitrator stammered something unrecognisable trough shaking lips, and he glanced to the desk at his side.
“My lord…” He managed.
He clumsily handed Ro´dox the paper lying there, and shrank back into his chair. Ro´dox scanned the document. Painfully slowly closing his great armoured fist, he fiercely and forcefully rammed it into the replacement security monitor screen. Kyle issued a small groan as the Inquisitor’s mailed gauntlet was withdrawn from the destroyed apparatus. The Inquisitor dropped the document back onto the desk in the centre of the dimly lit room and withdrew something glistening from the shadows of his robes. Kyle’s eyes widened as Ro´dox placed the cold metal object into his shaking hands.
“You can take me to him” Ro´dox spoke steadily. “You no longer answer to Arbitrator legislation, officer.” Ro´dox indicated the golden Inquisitorial seal Kyle was holding with a casual wave of his ornate fist.
“But lord...” The Arbite began.
Hector Ro´dox’s eyes smouldered like coals from behind the high gorget of his armour plate. He slowly and reverently hefted his gigantic hammer onto his shoulder, a stylised “I” engraved on the pauldron.
“You come with me.”
Gavroche Strident spat a thick gobbet of Duskweed onto the street.
“How much longer, Lucius?” he bluntly asked.
Drachtenburg gave the gunfighter a withering look before turning to their captive.
“Postyl?” the Inquisitor enquired.
“Just past this hab-block and through one more flux-arch.” Panted the restrained hive ganger.
Knees cut and bleeding and a constant stream of sweat rolling off his bare back, the day had taken a toll on the dishevelled excuse for a human. Gavroche reached into his pocket and fumbled about. The gunfighter was clearly bored babysitting this scum. He pulled out more of the pungent chewing leaf and thumbed it into his mouth.
“Good. ´Coz one more hour following him through this grimy maze and I’d be ready to let the twins out for a play.” He said, patting the matching pair of silver pistols in their holsters.
“If he dies Strident, you go straight on the next ship destined for Arco-flagellation.” The Inquisitor butted in.
Drachtenburg scanned the shadows and smoke-filled alleys with his bionic eye, a faint red glimmer catching on the trails of grey mist. He then reached out with other, more subtle, senses. Letting his consciousness span out in front of him, he sensed a spiked feeling of agitation from the captivated ganger. Pushing his will further, he caught a glimmer of anger combined with a cold shard of fear and loathing. Not a good mix. He would have to watch this one. Armoured in a plate of deep green and gold and carrying his engraved shotgun, he walked behind the heavy breathing hive scum with quiet steps.
The gunfighter stalked off to one side, spitting once more before catching Drachtenburg’s eye.
“Wouldn’t be much use to you as an arco-flagellant, oh holy Inquisitor.” He sneered.
“Don’t count on it Strident. The Mechanicum implants are getting pretty advanced now.” Retorted Drachtenburg. “Besides, the company would be better:”
Gavroche scoffed, chewing yet more Duskweed.
“Who would you talk to? Flint? Plus, that preacher wouldn’t be seen dead cavorting with scum like Postyl here.”
Postyl glared at Gavroche with menace in his eyes.
“You’d be surprised what Lukas Flint would be prepared to do for Him-on-Earth, and his conversation can actually be rather insightful on occasion.” The Inquisitor stated matter-of-factly before scrying the opening leading from the passage.
The smoke-laced corridors between decrepit buildings had eventually come to an end, opening out onto a slab-grey complex of squat structures. Drachtenburg’s lips curled into a tight smile. Before him was an ancient and abandoned orbital relay station covered with rusting pipes, collapsing architecture and a thick layer of dust. Many of the buildings were all but deserted, some no more than rockrete blocks boarded up with iron sheeting, the STC design barely recognisable through the overlaying wreckage. A faint hum, however, could be heard from the surrounding generator units.
“Is this it?” Strident queried. “This dusty old tomb is the trader’s base?”
“No fool.” Spat Postyl. “This is where we contact their voidcraft. We never see the traders planetside. This way to the array.”
Winding their way through the darkening labyrinthine alleys of steel and stone, Kyle Rannus and Inquisitor Ro´dox were closing in on the signal emitted from the auspex held in the Arbite’s hand. Customary protocol of the Arbites in Midghast was to ensure captives ingest a tracking tag hidden in the food offered. Although escapes from the precinct fortress were unheard of, it was always carried out meticulously. Kyle thanked the Throne this was the case, as he could only imagine what kind of retribution the towering Inquisitor would have dealt out if the ganger was untraceable.
“One hab-block away, my lord Inquisitor.” Kyle reported, before unclipping his shotgun from his belt.
“No Kyle, I want him alive if possible. He must be seen to be punished.” Growled Ro´dox.
Kyle acknowledged with a curt nod and swapped to his shock maul, activating the thumb stud. The passageway gave way to a dull, mist-covered facility of some sort. Ro´dox noted the sticky mess of Duskweed by his gilded feet.
“We have found them.” He said with reverence. “Take back that mislaid heretic, officer. Expect resistance”.
“What of your associate, my lord Inquisitor?” Kyle dared to ask.
“Leave my associate to me. I will request a conclave wherein he can explain his actions of disrupting my holy work.” Ro´dox mused. “You will treat him with respect, unless I give the word.” He ordered without emotion.
Kyle gave a shudder at the thought of coming to blows with one of the Emperor’s Holy Inquisitors, and then pushed it to the back of his mind. He himself was in the service of one such individual now. Besides, none should be above Imperial law…
Drachtenburg gazed at the doorway in front of them.
“Release Postyl’s bonds Strident.” He quipped, staring intently at the thick armaplas.
“Are you fething…?”
“Now Gavroche.” Drachtenburg snapped. “This door requires both his thumbprints to open, and I am getting impatient.”
Gavroche grudgingly unsnapped the bonds restraining Postyl’s arms behind his back and the ganger let out a groan of relief. He glanced shiftily at both gunfighter and Inquisitor before turning to the door. Several seconds later the great hinges swung on straining mechanical servos centuries old, and a whiff of stale air flooded over the group.
“Watch over him Strident. I may be some time…” The Inquisitor trailed off as he stalked into the dark interior of the relay station.
“Great. More child minding.” Retorted the gunfighter to the already diminishing silhouette of Drachtenburg. Postyl gave a cough.
“Don’t think about moving, Postyl.” He announced, leaning back on an old promethium barrel and toying with one of his silver revolvers. “I’d hate to have to shoot you after all the hard work you put into this.” He smirked.
A shady expression flitted across Postyl’s pained face for a brief moment before disappearing behind a look of anxiety.
“It’s not as if I’m going to be rescued now is it?” Hissed the ganger through barred teeth that looked disturbingly like a smile.