Author Topic: Fire For The Damned  (Read 2848 times)

Offline Casus Belli

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Fire For The Damned
« on: June 30, 2012, 01:04:10 AM »
Interrogator Pleman was finding it hard to guess how long it had been since this interrogation session began. All he could really think was that this was a particularly bad one, and that it did not feel good to be the one being interrogated by heretics rather than interrogating them.  Most of his contact was with some hard bitch of a woman calling herself Athira, who had the look of a ganger about her. Her methods were correspondingly simple; regular sessions of massive sustained beatings.

The other person attending his interrogation today was an enigma of sorts. The man was tall, authoritative and had stayed silent thus far; he was clearly a psyker and a leader within this heretic coven. No matter how sorry his physical state became, Pleman’s spirit would resist, but warp interference was a worrying prospect, even to one warded against telepathic attack.

Having finished yet another round of punches and kicks all over his face and body, in between catching her breath, the woman reeled off the same series of questions as she always asked regarding Pleman’s master, his master’s plans and his location. Getting nothing out of Pleman other than a string bloody drool, she produced a wicked looking blade came back for another round.

‘I’ll gut you, c***.’ She waved the blade menacingly. ‘I’ll carve your f***ing heart!’ Her voice was totally flat and emotionless, as if she was talking about carving a block of clay.

‘You think I fear death from the likes of some psyker cultist scum?’  Pleman tried to laugh, but it only came out as a gurgling cough. Not one to give up, he hacked up the offending clotted blood and phlegm, and made to spit it at his tormentor. However he could barely even move his lips let alone coordinate enough to aim and the gory sputum mostly rolled down his chin, earning him no satisfaction, only a savage blow to the side of the head from the Athira woman.  He allowed his head to slump to the side for a moment, and then with a supreme effort raised it enough to look into the tall man’s eyes and continued.

‘No. I am the agent of an Inquisitor, no terror in the galaxy could be worse than my master’s wrath. For should I die facing the foes of the Emperor and my master, my immortal soul will be taken into the embrace of the Lord of Humanity, and I’ll join his ethereal host of heroes awaiting His return and the last great crusade.’ Pleman’s voice had taken on an air of fervour and the angle of his chin and the set of his shoulders had become quite resolute.

‘But should I fail my master and the God Emperor, my soul would be cast into the abyss of the warp, condemned to eternal damnation!’  Pleman was now sitting bolt upright, his speech had become clear and powerful, even the bruising on his face seemed less heinous all of a sudden.

‘The wrath of the Emperor is fuel for the pious and fire for the damned!’ The leather straps began to strain and give way.

‘I will purge this nest of heresy with nothing but my bare fists, and the word of the holy word of the Emperor if needs be.’ The leather straps around Pleman’s arms and legs tore free; the bitch Athira’s eyebrows were raised up in shock, though the rest of her face remained hard as ever.

‘My master will hunt down every last one of your accomplices, no matter how numerous they may be, no matter many worlds you infest, no matter how far you run or what dark forces you unleash. THE LIGHT AND WILL OF THE EMPEROR AND HIS HOLY INQUSIITION IS INESCAPABLE!’ Roaring now, Pleman was halfway to standing, straining against the heavy chains that were all that held him in check.

Time began to stretch out as it always did when the Emperor’s wrath filled him, allowing Pleman to appreciate the little details that you didn’t really notice whilst you were having the s*** kicked out of you. The room he was in was tidy and functional, spy eyes on the walls and a large one way mirror on the wall marked it out as a dedicated interrogation cell. These bastards were clearly more organised and better funded than the average heretic witch cell. Athira herself was finally showing some real emotion, taking half a step towards him with rising panic painted across her features.  Brave woman, he thought for a second before correcting himself, brave corpse.

The silent man was reaching into his robes now, probably for a compact las, or a custom stubber. He’d only have time for one round, two if he was exceptionally good. Not that it mattered, nothing small enough to be concealed there would have the requisite stopping power, even a bolt round wouldn’t be able to bring Pleman down at this stage.

‘YOU. WILL. ALL. DIEEEE.’ The cuff around his right wrist was bending badly now, and the one on the left was just starting to give. In a second he’d be free, in four he’d have killed the two heretics before him, in eleven he’d kill whoever was behind the one way mirror. After that he’d take it slow, do it right and leave none alive.

The silent man had his weapon free now, only it didn’t look like a weapon. It was small, much too small even for a needler. Suddenly it caught the light and glinted sharply, silver, a thrice barred ‘I’. Unmistakeable. More terrible than any weapon, the seal of an inquisitor.

Pleman’s fury, fervour and strength disappeared in an instant, as if they had never been there at all. For half a second he stood frozen in position, and then normal reality and abnormal agony re-asserted themselves. Pleman crashed back into the steel throne and crumpled up like parchment on a fire. His chin hit his chest and he bit halfway through his tongue, his vision blurred and swum but he could still see that dreadful silver seal as if it were burned into his retina. The tall man stepped forward and took Pleman’s chin gently in his hand and lifted his head so that they were making eye contact.

‘You see, I do not fear your master, nor do I fear the light of the inquisition, as that light is my own.’ Barely a whisper, each word thundered into Pleman like the fists of an ogryn.

‘And as for you immortal soul, eternal damnation and the horrors of the warp... well, we are currently on a starship in the immaterium, and should I leave this conversation displeased, it is a simple matter to eject you from the succour of our Gellar field.’ The tall inquisitor stepped back and gestured to Athira, who stepped off to the corner of the room and began to speak into the wall mounted vox caster.

Returning his attention towards the wretched Pleman, the inquisitor bent over so his mouth was less than a hands breadth from his swollen right ear and spoke once more.

‘So will you now tell me everything I want to know?’ Tears were already streaming down Pleman’s cheeks.

‘Yes.’ He lisped through his blood filled mouth. ‘Please, yes.’
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 06:10:32 PM by Casus Belli »

Offline Casus Belli

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Re: Fire For The Damned
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2012, 12:15:51 PM »
===retrieving requested data===
===security level: 6A===
===inquisitorial codes recognised===
+++full access granted+++
===opening file: inquisitorial asset deployment request archives - Brackeris Sector===
===opening audio transcript===

LH: I was aware of your mission when it was entrusted to you by my predecessor Lord Gravian. How is it that you have taken 9 years to deliver this report?

IB: On arrival at Helicos I discovered that the Imperium had jumped forwards approximately 5 years whilst I’d been in the immaterium.

LH: That’s as may be, but how do you account for the other 4 years of silence?

IB: ‘Lord Commander’ Ocadan had moved on, it took time to catch up with him... Listen Ocadan is the least of our worries, he’s a megalomaniac and a user of proscribed juvenant treatments, but show me a planetary governor who isn’t one of those things and...

LH: But he isn’t a planetary governor, the last Ocadan to govern a planet was his grandfather. He’s a destabilising element; no man should have unregulated control over an army as large as he has. No army should consist of mixed naval and land units, have we learned nothing from history?

IB: Concern yourself less with Ocadan’s Macharian designs and more wi...

LH: It is the duty of the inquisition to preserve the status quo, this man is a grave threat to the balance of power, and therefore he is of concern to me. Do not think for a moment that I am not aware of your borderline heretical Thorian leanings; I do not trust your interest in this man. If my position was more secure amongst our brothers I would have you declared excommunicate. Why is it you finally contact me after so many years? You need the authority of a lord inquisitor for something I do not doubt. Well be out with it...

IB:  I need a blackship.

[LH laughs for several seconds]

LH: You must be mad. Maybe my predecessor would have granted you this boon, he always was fond of you. But I will never put such an asset in your hands, I remember well the number of inquisitors who wished to see you take up my predecessor’s post in my stead. It was a great fortune for the Imperium and the inquisition that you were not around to push your claim. No, it was too close then and I would not risk putting cards in your hand you might play against me.

IB: This is bigger than conclave politics; it is bigger than you or me, or our old rivalry. I need a blackship under my authority, I need it now, or the consequences could by grave indeed.

LH: Over my dead body.

IB: So be it.

+++communication terminates+++
===closing archive===
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 12:23:28 PM by Casus Belli »

Offline Casus Belli

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Re: Fire For The Damned
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2012, 09:57:40 PM »
Siazi Athira absentmindedly ran her finger over the thin white line of scar tissue that bisected her right eye, and wondered how things might have turned out differently. Her life had certainly taken some strange turns, always squeezed down unnatural channels by the almighty organisations she unwillingly got tangled up with. The Noble houses of hive Trazior, those bastard Adeptus Mechanicus, the Arbitrators and lately the Inquisition. What next, the Astartes, the Custodes maybe?

The idea made her snort with amusement, drawing looks from some of the exclusive club’s distinguished clientele. If she’d got looks like that during her days in the underhive she’d have pulled a stubber by now, her hand twitched instinctively towards the area of her lower back where she usually concealed a digi-las. Then she resisted the impulse, and instead pulled her cowl lower, couldn’t blame these people, she wasn’t exactly blending imperceptibly in. The digi-las wasn’t even there anyway; you couldn’t get a weapon into a place like this. At least not without storming the establishment, which judging by the number of ex-guard bouncers and serving staff there were, wouldn’t be an easy ask.

She’d been comfortable in places like this before, she could be again. Isn’t that what she wanted? To go back to the days before her life had become often complicated and always brutal. It was a strange feeling being in such an establishment, the sort of place where fifteen year old Siazi had beguiled and schemed and networked, preparing for marriage to a scion of some powerful noble house or other. If only proud little Siazi of those bygone days could have seen her twenty seven year old future self, battering an inquisitorial agent, over and over, until his face was indistinguishable from a grox’s arse. Hers had become a bloody life for sure, but it was better that than a bloody death.

Athira suddenly snapped out of her melancholy reverie, she could sense the presence of someone who could be none other than her target; he was moving though the numerous reception and greeting rooms of the club towards the main lounge. She wished there’d been more time to prepare this operation, but the purging of one of the cults her master had cultivated by a rival inquisitor’s lackeys had been too urgent to ignore.

The subsequent capture of interrogator Pleman, and the potentially short shelf-life of the information they’d extracted from him, had set events in motion that could not be delayed.  There was a three day wait before the next suitably inconspicuous ship left Termlin for Androhr, the current location of the inquisitor investigating their unsanctioned psyker cells. In the meantime Inquisitor Mael Mangarn had begun preparations for his assault on Pleman’s unsuspecting master, leaving Athira three days to complete the kidnapping alone that they were originally planning together.

They already knew their target, Danstius Cotar, a member of the Navis Nobilite; yet another powerful and deadly organisation Athira would rather not get involved with. He was an arrogant bastard, who loved to flaunt his power and wealth at the very best parties and clubs. His favourite such venue on Termlin was Mist, a hyper exclusive members club catering to the very highest peaks of imperial society. Accordingly, the first day Athira had spent preparing a suitably grand false identity, the first night she spent familiarising herself with the internal layout of Mist. She’d woken late in the morning on the second day, and spent the rest of the day preparing in minutiae for tonight. The third day, Athira had mostly spent resting, and now the evening was here, and Cotar was arriving at the club. She’d have one shot at this, and then if she was still alive a couple of hours from now, she and Mael would take passage on a trading vessel due for Androhr. 

Athira breathed in the scent of her drink, a highly alcoholic Necromundan spirit with a benzo hit. Then she knocked it back as if she were downing it, and moved her throat as though swallowing, though really she just held the spirit in her mouth. She signalled the bartender for another drink with a graceful sweep of her perfectly manicured hand, the same hand that, coated in blood, had choked Pleman to within an inch of his life only four days previous.

She lifted her gilded re-breather over her nose and mouth and took a draw of air. A ridiculous fashion, caused by an obsession the nobles of this world had with clean air. It was ludicrous even to the point that taking the occasional breath through a re-breather was normal even inside a club such as Mist, where there air was probably purer than that of the most pristine garden world.  Every person of worth and standing on Termlin carried a re-breather, and the higher their position in society the more elaborate and richly decorated it was. They were not used for every breath even outside, the air here was very clean, though it had apparently been bad a century ago. Their main use seemed to be to be to imply that common air was not fine enough, or to show distain to those who could not afford them. This was mostly achieved by taking the odd breath at random intervals, or when something disagreeable was said or seen.

Athira’s re-breather was a beautiful example, and quite unique too. She’d spent a good few hours the day before, stripping it down and modifying its internal workings. Instead of just scrubbing air and storing it in a reservoir for the user to breathe from, hers took liquids from the mouthpiece into the unit, where they were divided into two separate reservoirs. The smaller took the alcohol, plus any other combustibles and oxidising agents that may be present in tiny quantities. The larger took whatever else was left, including of course the drugs and psychotropic substances that were present in many expensive drinks.  Athira subtly discharged the drink from her mouth into the re-breather, and then took another deep breath.

Allowing the re-breather to fall back around her neck, Athira let out a giggle. If only these fops were transported to the underhive for five minutes, then they’d know what bad air was. Athira paid the bartender, who looked like he’d been stripped straight out of stormtrooper carapace, given a scented bath and stuffed into fashionable formal clothing. Just to make him even more uncomfortable she blew him a kiss, then took the new drink in her hand and slid languidly out of her seat by the bar.

Cotor was just arriving in the lounge now, dressed in the tasteful blacks and greys fashionable on Termlin, but sporting an incredibly gaudy gold and jade staff, topped with an emerald encrusted silver eye. Siazi hovered in and out of his conversational circles for about an hour, nearly every time he said something she found herself taking a fake draw of air from her re-breather, maybe it wasn’t such an idiotic fashion as she had originally thought. The man really was an insufferable pompous arse, if anyone’s words could make the air stink it was his. Siazi was getting sick of listening to Cotor prattling on about how well travelled and knowledgeable he was, but just before she moved off into an adjacent group he excused himself to satisfy the necessary bodily functions associated with drinking half a bottle of Mordian brandy.

This was the moment she had been waiting for, Athira slipped after him at an unsuspicious distance, noting which private bathroom he entered. Athira checked over her shoulder for onlookers, then satisfied that no one was nearby; she darted forwards and inspected the electronic lock. The designers of Mist must have assumed that having got through all the door security and member screening no one would want to break into an occupied toilet. The bathroom lock was laughably primitive, even the least educated underhiver would be able to circumvent it in mere minutes.

Athira herself had the door open in seconds and quickly stepped in, locking the door again behind her. The room she found herself in was the strangest bathroom she’d ever seen. It was street level, with one wall being a massive one way mirror. The set up was designed so that Termlin’s elite could piss disdainfully at the plebs milling around on the street, without them being any the wiser as to what was going on the other side of the mirror they were leaning against.

Cotor, who had just finished up and was busy struggling with his trousers, noticed the intrusion only when he turned to wash his hands.

‘How? What the f***?’ He bellowed, and grabbing his ridiculous staff he swung at Athira. It was not a thought out swing, and the man had probably never been in a proper fight in his life. Athira ducked easily under the wild sweep, stepped forward and punched Cotor hard in the nose; it made a sickening crunch and started liberally leaking blood.

‘You’ll regret that whore!’ Cotor grunted, whipping off the bandanna that concealed his third eye. ‘I’ll shred your soul.’ Closing her good left eye and throwing back her cowl, Athira stared back with her blank dead eye. Suprised and horrified Cotor lurched backward and closed his third eye, before he could recover from the shock Athira thrust her re-breather in his face and pressed a button which rapidly discharged the large reservoir through a concealed nozzle. The several doses of benzos Athira had spat into the re-breather over the evening shot out along with all the inert chemicals, straight into Cotor’s face. His surprised gasp carried a significant amount down into his lungs, and almost immediately knocked him out.

Dragging Cotor behind the large stone sink, Athira set the re-breather against the base of the mirror and set it to explode the contents of the small reservoir. Not expecting the blast to be very large, but just in case, Athira huddled down behind the sink with the unconscious Cotor. After a few moments the device detonated, blasting the mirror out in a twinkling storm of glass. A few bystanders on the street were badly wounded by the shrapnel, Athira felt bad for them, but was also glad of the distraction they would cause. Hefting Cotor over her shoulder she made off into the night, through the gathering crowd of commoners before they, or anyone else even knew what was happening.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 10:18:27 PM by Casus Belli »