Author Topic: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion  (Read 24274 times)

Offline Necris

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #105 on: December 20, 2010, 09:47:31 AM »
Nero looked round at the stormbird made it's final approach standing beside Draconis he looked down at the young marine as he drifted into a drug induced haze, the bomb stood a short distance behind, his vox bead growled to life as Lomak's link broke through.

"Where are you taking the bomb?"

He paused for a second allowing the wash of the stormbirds engines to drive the dust over him.

"We'll remove the device to high orbit and jetison it into space before destroying it from a distance."

He looked over his shoulder knowing full well he'd positioned himself with few clear lines of fire, it would take an assassin of Clade Vindicare to make a killing shot but he was still aware that should Lomak wish it he could inflict an injury that would incapacitate him. As the stormbird touched down he turned his attention to it.

"Draconis is wounded my apothecary teams on the Salvation can treat him but he needs the attention now before he bleeds to death."

He waved his marines forward onto the assault ship boarding las with a lingering look to where Lomak had fired his shot from.

++

The flight into orbit was swift the Stormbird climbing hard to punch through the atmosphere of the world before banking and turning towards his waiting ship he climbed into the cockpit speaking to thwe pilot as the marine manipulated the flight controls.

"Dump a fuel cell and destory it, the debris and chemical discarg with look like we destoryed the bomb."

The pilot nodded obeying dropping a fuel cell he banked the assault ship and fired one of the ships las cannon banks obliterating the cell in a single hit before returning his course to the waiting star ship.

 











 
This here is my very favourite gun...I call her rita.

The Order of the Iron Rose - Necris' Inq28 Plog

Offline Draco Silverhand

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #106 on: December 28, 2010, 06:06:49 AM »
Draconis shook his head, the sedative working its way trough his endochrine system, fighting his poison filtration systems, and gently inducung a slow torpor that shut dow all but his most vital organs. As darkness consumed him, a faint light penetrated the gloom. A vision? No... Draconis had forsaken belief in such things, and as he looked into the darkness, he found he still did not believe. A dream, perhaps. But almost every sedative that was capable of rendering a Space Marine unconscious was capable of doing so because it forced the brain to shut down beyond dreadless sleep into comatose status... What then, was this? As the darkness was expunged by the light, the light grew brighter, more discernable, even taking on a distinct color. Gold.

This soft, yet bright golden light grew near, and the cold darkness Draconis had been feeling ebbed away. He found himself laying on a warm, white marble floor, with veins of gold streaking through the stone. The floor expanded away some distance, and rose up in colums of white-gold embossed marble, embellished with the images of the nine loyalist primarchs from the age of Heresy, amidst these columns were tapestries, colorful and vibrant, which seemed to move with an unearthly breeze, as Draconis could feel none. The hall became more clearly defined as he sat, propping himself up, and he noticed his hand was intact.

Standing up, Draconis could see the hall in its entirety. Directly behind him stood a massive, ornate, gold-laid door decorated with gems and prescious metals he had scarce seen, the room grew more splendorous as he gazed around, until he looked down the length of the hall. Some distance away, it seemed at least a quarter mile away, there was an ornate throne, too large to be designed for a normal human. The throne was surrounded by organ pipes, choir horns and all manner of censers. The throne gleamed as if radiating its own light.

Draconis cocked his head sideways. He had been to Holy Terra... He had been to the Imperial Palace... He had seen depictions of the Throne Room and the Golden Throne... While reminiscent of such things, this hall did not seem to fit with the architectural feel of the Imperial Palace he had visited, nor did it seem to match the pict captures of the Golden Throne. There should be more dust, more... oil, metal... more pipes and tubes and ichor. The room should be gloomy and dark, yet somehow... this incarnation of the Golden Throne felt right. As if, this was how it should be.

As he approached the Golden Throne, he realized, it was not a quater mile away, but that it was actually much larger than it had seemed from the entrance. More pillars rose up from the floor to a ceiling obscured by light, each inlaid with images of glories long forgotten, or not to be seen achieved.

He put the images from his mind as he walked towards the Golden Throne.

Near enough. A voice told him. He stopped in the middle of the hall and knelt. Stand. I am no God.

"Would you not have your subjects kneel before you?" Draconis asked, realizing the possibility of error in speaking only after the words had left his lips.

A good enough question. But, who am I to be your Lord? And to that, who are you, that you would be my subject?

"Are you not the Emperor of Mankind?" Draconis asked, still kneeling.

I was.

"Was?"

In my lifetime, I have been a soldier, a saint, a knight, a chemist, a politician, an astronaut, a gambler, a thug, and every possible occupation or vocation you can imagine. Emperor of Mankind was my last such role in a life long lived with the hope of saving mankind.

"Saving mankind?"

From itself... the Chaos within.

"Chaos is the enemy from beyond." Draconis spouted, as a programmed response. There was a pause before the reply came.

Is it? Draconis was taken aback by the question. It unhinged a door in his mind, which led to a string of questions.

"It is..." There was an awkward sense that this voice, presence he was experiencing perhaps, whatever it was... it was watching his thoughts. "The enemy within is the heretic. The enemy without is the alien. The enemy beyond is the daemon." He finally replied.

Oh... I see...

"Is it not?" He felt more unsure, but his voice seemed to hold its confidence and strength.

What would you say if I were to tell you that I have become akin to a fifth Chaos God?

"I would say you are no Emperor of mine, and no savior to mankind!" Draconis stepped back, reaching for a sword he realized too late he did not have.

Do not worry. I brought you here, I am not inside your mind, and if you wish to attack me, you need only envision your weapon, whatever it may be, and it will form where you wish it to form. Do not expect me to die though. I will have to hurt you, if you attack me. Draconis focused on his hand, and a frag grenade appeared, he focused again, and the grenade turned into smoke.

"I am in the warp, then, and you are the Astronomican. It is too peaceful here, in the few illusions of Chaos I have endured, evil seems to ebb through the peace and tranquility, and this place has no uneasy sensation to it. I cannot explain any other way how I know."

Explained well enough you have. So, you will understand me when I say, the four Chaos Gods are not gods. They are dead humans... well, not completely and not just humans. Chaos is the subconscious desire, agony, hatred and change which all life experiences in all walks. The races most prone to psychic power are also the most contributary to the existence of Chaos. Humans and the Eldar. The other races have their own gods, or are not psychic enough to fuel the forces of Chaos.

"Stop... Are you telling me that Khorne, god of bloodlust, hatred and war is just a remnant of mankind?"

When a person dies, their life experiences, their emotions, their memories break down into their base components... and like droplets of mercury in a saucer, given long enough, these emotions would coalesce, like with like, until a basic sentience forms. The daemons formed this way, then formed larger collectives, as the gravity of a specific emotion would draw more like unto like, until the emotions comprising the Chaos gods reached critical mass.

"So, then, the chaos gods are just husks of human emotion given new form... in large quantity..."

Yes. Slaanesh was of the Eldar, but the other three are man-made... as am I, after a fashion...

"I don't understand... You are a man-made God of Chaos, yet you still fight for the Imperium?"

Fight, no. I direct, guide, shape the Imperium, try to protect it from outside forces, and try to keep it pure from within. However, I am not able to do so without agents. I never was. During the great crusade, I often appointed tasks to lesser men than myself. Now, I am not a man, but a convalescence of mankind, the purest of hopes and dreams rest in my being, the most courageous and honored souls you may have met find their way to me at the crossing... You are near to that crossing. That is why you are here.

"Because I may soon die?"

No, because soon, you may live. You are young, inexperienced, but above all, you are strong of heart. Your uncle was strong of will, but had little heart for mine. He was corrupted by his own self loathing, insecurity and fear long before a daemon entered his heart.

"What would you have me do, then?"

Return to your chapter, return the lost relic Nero gave you. You need not lie about whose hand took Tigurio's life. Inquisitor Orin Lomak fired the killing blow. You may however, wish to exercise discretion in revealing the identity of the marines who fought alongside you. While meaning well, these marines are oft considered heretics and traitors simply for the colors they wear. They are exiles, and must remain so, for my purposes. When you awake, Nero's apothecary will hand you a vial containing Tigurio's hearts and corrupted progenoid gland. This will allow for genetic verification, after a quick communication with the Black Templars, should your captain wish it.

"So, you want me to go back to my chapter, lie about one crucial bit of evidence... how did I close the distance without space marine assistance?" There was no immediate answer. "Also, to what end does this serve mankind?"

I need you to remain an astartes. To be exiled for contact with anathematic marines - those at contrast with the will of the loyalist chapters accepted by Imperial doctrine - would be detrimental to the greater need for you to rise to the rank of Captain. I have need of you on Cythera Primatis, but you will only be able to bring victory for mankind if you learn the lessons of your chapter, rise to the rank of captain, and lead your chapter honorably. When you recieve the summons to answer their distress beacon, you will be ready, and you will remember that it is your destiny to serve your Emperor, and mankind.

"Then... it shall be done." Draconis' mind turned resolute on the matter. He would not lie overtly, but simply omit the names of the chapters that assisted him, naming them as an unidentifiable chapter he had never seen before... He would return the Icon of Dorn, and he would fight and study as best he could to earn the favor of his chapter. If it was the will of the Emperor, then it would be done.

Offline Necris

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #107 on: December 29, 2010, 09:37:56 PM »
Nero stood over Draconis while Orin laid his hand on his head, his eyes drifted from Draconis face to the bionic that had been fitted during the hours after they had left the worlds surface, the bionic completed Draconis' ruined lower arm and was fashioned from black steel with gold inlay patterning.

His attention turned to the apothecary as he moved passed him checking on the patient.

"A little over the top isn't it?"

"It's been a long time since I fitted a bionic arm, can you blame me?"

Nero made to continue but Orin's snarl of annoyance dragged his attention back to the psyker as his hand withdrew from Draconis' forehead.

"Is it done? Have you implanted the thoughts in to his mind?"

"No, something prevented me from implanting the thoughts."

"Will we remain a secret?"

"I don't know, there was something else entering his mind, a more powerful force than mine."

Nero frowned, he would have to watch the young marine.

This here is my very favourite gun...I call her rita.

The Order of the Iron Rose - Necris' Inq28 Plog

Offline Draco Silverhand

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #108 on: January 03, 2011, 06:47:43 PM »
Draconis awoke. Opening his eyes, he saw white. His enhanced eyes adjusted quickly, and the white faded to fluoro-lamps and glow-globes suspended a dozen feet above him. The lighting illuminated a light grey and white medicae chamber, which, as he sat up and looked around, he realized was designed for dozens of recovery beds at once. A proper infirmary then. He propped himself with both hands, then realized that his left hand was gone. Swinging his legs off the bed, he sat there looking at the intricately carved and decorated bionic hand put there, no doubt, by one of the Apothecarion staff on board. It was beautiful. However, it left questions as to the nature of these marines. Draconis did not doubt they were ancient, kept youthful by the strange nature of the Warp, but that was it. He had yet to accept them as who they said they were, and his recent vision only served to strengthen his doubts. Why would they have planted such a vision? He didn't know that they had, but he suspected it with all his wit. If these men had planted a false vision, it would only serve to strengthen his resolve to hunt them down and destroy them himself. Of greater skill or not, they had no right to blaspheme the memory of good marines.

As he sat in the medicae chamber, pondering these things, and his gauntlet, an Apothecary entered, carrying a tray of nutrient suppliments and some food with it.

"Good. You're up. How is your hand?"

"It..." Draconis flexed the fingers again. "feels like my hand." He was at a loss for words. "I thought this technology had been lost. All my brethren speak of bionic appendages that tingle, or feel out of place with their body. I have not heard of an arm or leg which did not feel alien to the wearer." The apothecary smiled.

"Yes. This is because you have yet to meet anyone whose apothecary still remembers the pre-heresy techniques for attaching limbs and eyes." He smiled at Draconis, an almost predatory smile. "And to pass these techniques down from generation to generation, oft your brethren's predecessors forgot to pass on an ingot of truth, or a sliver of knowledge. That loss causes degradation in the implant process."

Draconis absorbed this. His expertise was not in medical affairs, and he was at a loss for words. The tension mounted until another marine entered. Nero. He wore formal robes, instead of armor, and had a solemn look to his face.

"Your ship awaits you, brother. I must depart before your ship translates into the Warp, as I have other duties to attend." He held out a pass key. "Your armor has been repaired and is locked in stasis. This is the only key to access it. Once you've recovered your battle plate, head to the flight decks. A thunderhawk has been prepped for flight to the frigate with your squad on it. They no doubt wish to hear all about your adventure, and hear why they were left behind. You have one hour before my ship translates to the Warp, so please do not tarry." Nero said this all in a calm manner, but did not leave a hint of ease about it. There was almost a sense of urgency, as he said this, and Draconis took no time to hop off the hospital bed and take the card.

"I think, if I had more time, I would have liked to ask many questions, but I also suspect you are gently nudging me to the door so that I can not." Draconis said in a polite tone of voice.

"It is entirely within the realm of possibility that I'm kicking you off my ship to avoid suspicion, but would that itself not engender suspicion? I think you know I do not always follow standard divination techniques and I have no correspondent chapter to send me orders of where to go. I must go where the winds take me, that I may fight Chaos and keep evil at bay. If I am pointed towards a system or conflict, then it is there I must go. As I met you by this way of warring. My next engagement will engulf the entire company of my marines for some time, and I do not wish to bog your return to your chapter by dragging you along with me."

"Very well." Draconis nodded. "I shall depart, and I wish only that your wars bring service to the Emperor. If you die, may you die well." As he said this, he brought his fists to his chest, opened his hands and made the sign of the Aquilla.

"I wish you the same, Draconis, now go in service to the Emperor and return to your chapter..."

Offline Necris

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #109 on: January 18, 2011, 02:22:01 PM »
Nero knelt in his personal chamber a robe pulled about his shoulder he was silent his breathing slow as he cycled through the meditation cycles, a pair of soft foot falls came to him and his voice spoke out soft yet still challenging.

"What can I do for you Sybille?"

The woman paused in her approach as the marine turned standing at his full height, she was tiny compared to him like a child she had to crane her neck to look up into his face, she wore a dress of thin multicoloured silks which in their self were more than see through but layered as they were they created an almost shimmering effect. her face lay behind a single layer of blue silk hiding the details of her face.

"You must leave."

"Excuse me?"

"Leave the ship, leave the force."

"You have seen this in a vision 'oracle'?"

She nodded moving to his cot and sitting upon it, he watched her feet swinging from the edge.

"I had a vision while you were engaged in battle, You alone stood against a tide of black and gold, you alone won the day."

He frowned.

"You mean the fallen?"

She nodded and then continued.

"An old enemy returned one slain by your hand."

"Which is why I must go?"

Again she nodded

"Tass or Sol will make good commanders in your stead."

He frowned deeper.

"Your telling me my business now?"

"Only advising that is why I am here isn't it, he gifted me to you to guide you did he not?"

He hissed and started pacing.

"The enemy has designs on the world Cythera Primatis, though he gathers his strength now, you maybe able to prevent the strike against the world."

"How?"

"He resides in the Eye gathering warbands to his cause, he seeks aid from the Tyrant and from the Despoiler."

"So he swells his ranks with traitors."

"And champions, one with certain skills could get very close to his inner circle."

"You suggest I join his force, he'd know me the moment he set eyes upon me."

"Not if you bore the colours of another legion."

"You suggest too much witch."

"I only suggest what is needed, should you bear the colours of a legion divided in their loyalties, a legion that is as much a mystery as the warp itself you could pass unseen."

"The Alpha legion, why not send Paval then?"

"He does not have the skills you possess Nero."

He sighed.

"When do I need to Depart?"

"Now, before we drop into the warp."

"I need time to prepare, to leave so suddenly..."

"I have made arrangements, your armour is repairs and bears it's new colours, the weapons you need are ready, Sol and Tass make their way here now upon your summons."

He turned on her growling.

"You dare manipulate me Sybille!"

"I am not manipulating you Nero, you know I work on another level, I see the future all the time even now I see the threads of the future ebbing before me."

"What do you see?"

"I see Tass in command with Sol at his shoulder together they will lead the force to great victories, they will strike at the Juliana Worlds and return them to them to the Imperium."

He nodded as a heavy hand fall fell upon his chamber door.

"Enter."

Tass and Sol strode into the chamber giving Sybille a sideways glance, Tass broke the silence.

"You sent for us Nero?"

"I did, I am to leave on my own quest for a while, something I thought I'm finished centuries ago seems to have been left undone."

"Then let us deploy our full might against it."

"No, this needs a more subtle approach then open force."

"What about the Legion?"

"That is why you are here, you two have long been my unofficial seconds Captains in your own rights now it is time to rise to the challenge of command Tass you are the most experienced so I raise you to commander but I expect you to make use of Sol's skills and abilities, together you will lead the legion and the legio against the enemies of the Emperor, the Juliana Worlds have fallen to the traitors I trust you to return them to the Imperium."

They looked upon him as he touched each of their shoulders.

"We will not fail you."

"I never had any doubts you would Sol, no go your new commands await, I depart before you enter the warp."

The two commanders nodded once an departed.

He turned to Sybille who sat in silence.

"So it is done."

"Yes, and now it is time for you to prepare your self."

He nodded leaving his chamber he strode through the ship to the armoury his armour was waiting for him in it's new colours of deep blue and silver it looked alien to him despite its many centuries as his the new colour did not sit well with him, his weapons lay to one side, a phobos pattern bolter and bolt pistol and a pair of combat blades, a chainblade bayonet and a long powersword, a collection of grenades and ammunition sat to one side in ammo boxes waiting for servitors to bear them to his waiting stormbird.

He slowly started to don his armour pulling on each piece with well practised ease once his armour was on save his helm he collected up the weapons arraying them about his body he slid his sword onto his hip and turned bolt pistol flashing into his hand, it lowered slowly as Paval walked into the armoury.

"You look the part."

"Not now Paval."

"Who do you think Sybille consulted about your armour, and to code you stormbird with our code breakers and counter measures."

He laughed as he picked up his helm, he strode towards Paval.

"So you two plotted this?"

"Not really, she asked me to set up what was needed."

"What do you want then?"

"I came to wise you good look, I would have offered to join you but Sybille insisted that you must go alone."

"you must be envious, this is your perfect playground isn't it."

He smiled as the pair of them walked from the armoury towards the landing deck they strode in silence as they entered the deck a lone stormbird sat waiting in the deep blue of the Alpha Legion.

"You know Paval I've never thanked you for Istvaan."

"And you'll never have too."

The two exchanged warriors grips and Nero climbed up the assault ramp.

"Nero, remember the Emperor Protects!"

He paused turning on Paval.

"The Emperor is not a God, Paval."

He strode into the Strombird and stopped a dozen Legion sat waiting their equipment arrayed around them.

"Out!"

One of their number stood bowing his head low.

"Sybille gave us your orders my lord."

He nodded striding past them to the cockpit a pair of Alpha Legionaries sat at the controls their fingers powering up the assault ship as he entered.

"Commander Nero, Captain Paval has instructed us to act as your pilots."

He nodded.

"Get us underway then."

Paval watched as the Stormbird departed he watched the ship go speaking as it left.

"You'll learn Nero, the Emperor's enlightenment awaits."
This here is my very favourite gun...I call her rita.

The Order of the Iron Rose - Necris' Inq28 Plog

Offline Draco Silverhand

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #110 on: January 20, 2011, 10:35:25 AM »
The voyage across the void was treacherously serene. The Thunderhawk had flown smoothly to the frigate craft carrying the Imperial Fists. They had been left out of most of the combat. An insult Draconis would have to answer to, no doubt. As the gunship docked with the frigate, the ramp opened up. As he had expected, the squad of marines was assembled, awaiting his return, though he could not tell if they were of ill temper, because their helmets masked their faces, and none moved even so much as a micron, so he could not detect sways of irritation. His own helmet still bore battle scars, and had yet to be re-painted, but was intact enough to function and hide his own features from the menials, serfs and Imperial Navy forces onboard. He stood waiting for a moment, at attention. They did not snap to attention. He clicked his heels, a second passed.

A second, and they snapped to attention and snapped their right fists to their chests in a warrior's salute. Had they voxed each other on a separate channel? Had they decided to test him? His ire rose at the thought, but was calmed by the knowledge that they had reason to be cold in welcoming him back. He had left them to sit in space, useless. As he snapped his own fist salute, Draconis remembered the icon he had recovered. Cycling his vox, he picked up on their chatter.

"He has returned. Now what?" One voice spoke. Not a marine moved, as if they thought he'd yet to check their vox communications.

"We follow him back to the chapter. His honor quest is complete." Another spoke.

"Why were we even needed?" A third spoke out.

"So I would have a ship to take me back, brothers." Draconis finally spoke, there was a moment of tension, as the marines heads all turned to regard him. How long had he been listening to them? Some wondered.

"At ease." They slid back into parade rest postures. "I could not have expected these naval ratings to hold the ship in system with such a fierce opponent, even with such a grand vessel as I was just aboard. With your leadership, these mortals held the course, and I have a means of returning this to our chapter." Draconis held up the icon Nero had given him. It shimmered in the deck lighting, and a palpable silence fell across the hangar, as even the humans nearby fell into reverent quiet upon seeing a holy relic. "An honor Rogal Dorn himself gave during the Great Crusade. I must return it to our Chapter at once, lest it be lost once more." A general assent rose up amongst the marines, as they realized the importance of such a relic.

"Brothers, I return, my mission fulfilled, as mine is, so is yours. Our duty complete, we may return to our chapter to report this honor restored!" With that a sound, between a grunt and a shout came from the marines, as they gave audible vox while punching straight up with their fists. The ratings flinched at the sound, but realized something good must have happened, and quickly themselves cheered. The Imperial fists dispersed shortly after, allowing the cheers to spread the ship. Draconis himself made way to the ship's bridge, where he formally requested the captain bring the ship in rendezvous with the nearest Imperial Fist battle fleet. Within the hour, the astropathic choir had located the nearest fleet, the navigator had plotted the quickest route, and the ship was translating into the Warp.



5 days later

"Hail." Draconis had to fight to contain his smile. Before him on the screen was the helmed captain of the Fifth. Wearing a death-mask of war that snarled with one bionic eye modified into the helm to match the one beneath.

"Hail, Brother." Came the captain's reply. As Draconis took a knee before the holo-pict screen, the captain inclined his own head and bade him "Rise".

"Brother Captain. I am Sergeant Draconis Falzone of the Imperial Fists Fourth company. I ask your permission to come aboard."

"Permission granted. Meet me in one hour for debriefing." The captain replied before the screen went dead. Draconis left the bridge without further ceremony, except to instruct the captain to return to his previous combat fleet, and if they were non-existent to report to segmentum command for re-assignment. With that, he disembarked, his squad joining him on the flight to the Regal Rogal, and then in the briefing chamber.




"So, you allied yourself with marines in traitor armor, albeit pre-heresy colours, stripped of the actual chapter badges, but still going by pre-heresy names and claiming to be the marines who Horus tried to exterminate from within his own ranks... You fought alongside these men to purge a star system of Chaos forces, and stave off some bizzarre daemon summoning ritual. You had the help of an Inquisitor in locating these forces, and you bring back the heart of a traitor Black Templar marshal... along with an Icon of Dorn given to you from the loyalist traitors?" Draconis nodded. "Was there anything else you wished to add?" The captain's voice was steel. His eyes were fire. His stance was stone. Draconis felt like water in the face of such force, but held firm against it.

"I recieved a vision after my combat with the Fallen Marshal. The Emperor spoke to me, bade me return to service, that my chapter and indeed the Emperor himself needed me to serve, and in time, earn the rank of captain, that I might save another system far in the future from now." With this bombshell of information, the captain almost looked like he was going to say something. His face twitched a micron before setting back into his hardened glare.

"Kelius." He said after several long minutes of staring. From the shadows of the chamber, a marine stepped forward. He was garbed in blue robes but wearing a gold, black and white badge marking him as an Imperial Fist, and a bronze horned ram skull on his belt, marking him off as something completely different.

"Yes?" The Librarian rumbled the query.

"Examine him for lies, treachery, deciet, sorcery and any manner of corruption you can find. Notify me within the hour if he is tainted. If not, check again, and then notify me of your findings. I will not hear of collaboration with traitors without good cause. I have not heard it, therefore, I must hear it from you." With that, he stormed out of the chamber, the other marines sat in silence in the background. Draconis' squad had been blessed with amnesty, as they had not actively aided these traitors, but were still being held apart until they were individually screened for corruption.

"It will be done." Kelius rumbled as he stretched his fingers over Draconis' forehead. The marine relaxed, he knew he was righteous, and would be exonorated. He had renewed faith in the Emperor, in the warp incarnation of the God of Mankind, and in his own place in the universe. As his mind was prodded, examined and leafed through, he felt himself opening to the intrusions of the Librarian.

Three hours later, and Kelius was still telling Captain Viran what he had learnt. The captain didn't seem happy, as Draconis observed, but his fury had died.

When the briefing finished between the two, Viran came to Draconis and bade him stand.

"You must speak with the Chapter Master. This is beyond my jurisdiction." Was all he said. "You are not under arrest, but if you attempt to leave this ship, or alter the course of our voyage without good cause, I will kill you myself." The captain stormed out, leaving Draconis and his marines to sort out what to do. An hour later, Draconis had eaten his first real meal since departing on his quest, and was working on cleaning, repairing and repainting his armor and weapons.