Warhammer 40,000: Only In Death Does Duty End
Thought for the Day: A suspicious mind is a healthy mind.
The Black Ship "Vanguard of Wrath" had stopped far outside of Vanaheim and dispatched a small shuttle. Miraen paced about the cabin of the shuttle as it flew in, muttering to himself. He was glad to be off that floating fortress- the misery of the confined psykers was almost palpable and the psychically blank Sisters of Silence standing guard at all times did nothing but exacerbate the problem. Tiring of this constant step, he sat down at a computer and with a few keystrokes, brought up the available information on the mission assigned to him.
A recent spate of bizarre murders was suspected of Chaos influence- each killed had been brutally slashed open and strewn about the room in a manner that could be seen as ritualistic. Even more strange, however, was that all of those killed were in the upper echelons of the local ruling structure. Luckily, the planetary governor had not been targeted yet, but it seemed that it was only a matter of time if the murders really were focused on the bureaucrats that kept the hive running. Attempts by local authorities to determine those responsible had turned up nothing, and the only reason the Inquisition was here at all was the requirement that all these crimes be catalogued, as they occurred against Imperial officials. An Ecclesiarchy servitor, poring through the records, had flagged them and sent them to the Inquisition without alerting Vanaheim, and the Inquisition had dispatched a unit to investigate.
The pilot of the shuttle turned his head and said, "Lord Klement, we are arriving in orbit. Shall I secure priority landing as an Inquisition ship?"
Snapping out of his reverie, Miraen responded, "No, ensign, a formal reception from the governor would draw every eye on the hive to us, and I'd prefer our enemies remain unaware as long as possible. We can wait an hour or two to preserve surprise."
The ensign nodded. "As you wish, m'lord."
He rose from his seat and glanced about the cabin as the pilot began negotiations with traffic control for a spot in the landing queue. Miraen had assembled a relatively fit retinue to accompany him on this mission, and he would have to depend on them for his life, as they would depend on him for theirs. Sizing each one up with a glance, he considered each's strengths and weaknesses, and what measures he would have to take onworld to ensure that any glaring weaknesses were covered. He had already requisitioned a Guardsman, and the Adeptus Mechanicus had assured him that a Tech Guard stormtrooper would be awaiting him on the surface, but they had yet to relay a profile to him, making him somewhat uneasy. Concluding his examination of the crew, he took a deep breath and began the briefing.
"Ladies. Gentlemen. We will be landing on Vanaheim shortly. I realize that information has been kept from you, that you are mostly unaware of why you are being brought here and what tasks you will be asked to perform. I will now be rectifying that situation. Local officials on this world have been systematically murdered in a rather disturbing manner, and we're here to figure out why." He began passing out the homicide reports filed by local authorities.
"These are the details of the incidents. Read them carefully- these reports are not to come with us onworld." Miraen paused for a moment as each scanned the documents. "Currently, it is suspected that these murders may be the work of a heretical cult attempting to destabilize the hive for their own nefarious ends. If so, we must not only find the individuals directly responsible for the murders, but the whole organization must be purged, else our work here is for naught. For this reason, we will be landing in secret, and why you must keep your positions as Inquisitorial agents relatively secret. Use your position only if absolutely necessary, for if there is a cult on this world, and they catch word of our presence, they will hide in the darkest corners of the world until we root them out, or until we leave. Is that understood?" He nodded at the general murmur of assent from those assembled. "Very well, then."
He turned to the pilot, saying, "What's our ETA, ensign?"
"About 45 minutes, sir."
"Good, good." Miraen turned to the still-assembled group. "Ah- you are dismissed."
Gregory picked up one of the folders and flipped through it. It was rather nasty, he had to admit. But he really couldn't bring himself to be or even pretend to be at all bothered by it. This, at least, wouldn't be making him lose any sleep.
"They certainly know how to make a mess."
He flipped through it, doing his best to memorize the case files. After a few minutes of reading, he set it aside and began considering the situation in general. They were a rather varied group, but he didn't think there would be much trouble on that particular front.
The Psyker shivered, his mind still recovering from leaving the Black Ships. He was cold at the best of times, but after being in the presence of the Sisters of Silence, he always felt numb to anything else. It wasn't just the unnerving nature of everyone around them being psychically luminous while they were absolutely dead in it, or the profound wrongness of them, but the fear and almost pain they evoked in him.
The ever-present feeling of fear and pain that seemed to be omnipresent inside those craft didn't make him feel better either. I had really hoped I would never travel on those again. He sat down and leaned back, trying to get a few minutes of sleep.
Going trough the last list of important machinery, Vladimir sighed in relief. All the equipment had been acounted for, and plans for getting it of planet fast should the need arise had been made.
Realizing he was late, he pulled his robes tightly to hide his uniform and gear. Putting on an eye patch and gloves, he looked very much like a hunchbacked fanatic. Stepping outside, he made his way towards the spaceport.
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