Dark Heresy: Cell Achates

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  1. Segmentum: Pacificus
    Sector: Clusius
    Subsector: Tiber
    System: Scaevola
    Location: Aboard Light Cruiser Plentiful Emptiness, in orbit over Scaevola Prime

    The journey to the Scaevola system was longer than expected. What should have taken a week lasted almost twice as long. Still, the trip was quiet and uneventful, and the Acolytes were blessed to have gotten their own cabin which granted them privacy, if not from each other then from the rest of the ship, and although cramped, a damn sight better than any open cargo hold. The Plentiful Emptiness had translated into the Scaevola System two days ago and had just entered the orbit of Scaevola Prime. It would take the ship a few hours to arrive above the planet's capital city, Monument, giving the Acolytes plenty of time to discuss their mission and how they wish to prosecute it.

    The Plentiful Emptiness
    The Plentiful Emptiness is a light cruiser, currently engaged in escorting a number of cargo ships to the Scaevola system. The ship itself is transporting goods and passengers to Scaevola, most notably including industrial equipment, an entire Craftsmen's Guild, and a cargo hold of pilgrims who have been following the path of the Clusian Worlds Crusade's 2nd Army; Scaevola is their final stop. There is a great deal of confusion over who owns the ship; some crewmembers say the vessel was recently bought out by a Rogue Trader, while others maintain that it remains a vessel of the Imperial Navy.

    According to the pilgrims and crewmen, Scaevola is a frontier system, both given to and named after General Scaevola at the conclusion of the Clusian Worlds Crusade. The system has three habitable planets. Scaevola Prime is a frontier world, home to the General's final victory. Scaevola II is an Ice World in the process of being terraformed, and Columbaria is a cemetery world for all the fallen soldiers of the Crusade's 2nd Army.

    The Cabin
    The Acolyte's cabin is little more than a closet with a door. There are twelve cots bolted to the walls in triple-bunks along the sides of the room, leaving a narrow alley between them with room for only one person to walk through, though two can squeeze past each other, so long as they aren't carrying anything large. The only light comes from a single glow-globe in the ceiling. All 12 beds were reserved for the Acolytes, granting them privacy and relative security. Their cabin is one of dozens like it, normally meant for ship ratings, but cleared for paying passengers.

    The Acolytes' Cargo
    The Acolytes were granted two things before departing on their mission. The first was an Inquisitorial Rosette, the symbol of authority encoded with data positively identifying their cell as genuine agents of Inquisitor Case, and gene-coded to the Acolytes themselves. The second was a cargo pod, 2.5 meters tall, 2.5 meters wide and 7 meters deep. Meant to carry whatever goods, weapons and artifacts the Acolytes possessed, it also came with an armorer servitor, bolted into the back of the pod. The Acolytes were forced to store all their weapons larger than small arms within the cargo pod before boarding, “for crew safety.”
  2. Elleantra was sitting on the floor next to her cot, finishing her daily prayers and rites. Her two personal weapons sat at either side of her, as she waited for the resident Mechanicus to become free so that he may perform his rites on her waponry before she went to blessing the tools. Her routine had been maintained over the weeks, as any pious follower of the God-Emperor would, though thankfully she had already performed her rites of fasting before the journey was undertaken, at the request of the Sister Superior who had informed her of this quest.
    The request had been seemingly out of nowhere, as Inquisitor Case had contacted the Militant arm of the Ecclesiarchy, in search for an attatchment of Sisters to assist with her assignment in the Scaevola system. Unfortunately, most of the Sisterhoods were either fully deployed elsewhere, or showed an acute distrust of Inquisitor Case, and refused her request. The Order of the Bloody Rose, however, was simply able to spare a promising Sister Initiate, as part of her rite of proof to allow her rising into the Sisterhood proper.
    She sat, crosslegged, in nothing but her holy wrappings, praying to the Emperor to remain pure on this mission, and to have him watch over her. Images flashed into her mind, sparking her holy anger as she thought of the mutants under orders of the Inquisitor, and how she was forbidden to cleanse them from the Emperor's gaze. She had heard stories, of course, of Inquisitor Case, though Elleantra had been informed that the Inquisitor's ways were necessary to root out the true heresies of The Enemy. These words did little to quench her fury, but they did stay her hand... For now.
  3. Merrez had started learning his way around the section of the ship on his first day there, doing the same thing he did every day; a long jog. Some in his regiment had found their time in transit boring, cramped and unplesant in many other ways. Merrez had as well, but he'd always been determined to use the time to stay in shape, rather than playing dice and hiding from the commisar.
    Besides, he liked being able to just shut off his mind for a while. To let the blood pump, keeping him from thinking of the battle he'd officially died in. To not think about those who actually died...

    And on this day as many others, he returned to the luxurious cabin of theirs, sweating and breathing heavily, only to find the Sister pretty much nude and praying.
    "Still living up to the standards of your order, I see." He said, as he hopped up into his bunk, in the middle on the right side. "Praying or burning. I'm just glad you're sticking to the former in here."
  4. Elleantra slowly opens her eyes as she finishes her prayers, regarding the guardsman with an amused expression. She slowly rises to her feet, grabbing her robes fomr her cot before slipping into them. "Greetings, Guardsman Merrez. I would say something about your ignorance to our Orders, though it is to be expected. Our rites and commandments are all but secrets to all outside our Sisterhoods, not to mention that you are simply a man. We each serve the Emperor in our own ways, and each have our own rules to adhere to when doing so." The sister would leave a space of silence before continuing. "In other words... Good Morning, Merrez."
  5. "Good morning to you top, Ellentras." He said with a smile, wiping his brow. "And as usual, I'm glad I'm not in an order like that. No offence, but it just seems a bit too strict for me." He chuckled slightly at that. "But I guess you don't have to worry about commisars at least... Still, I'm not planning to complain. The Emperor knows best and all that. More troops on our side is a good thing, no matter how you put it." He started patting down the front of his west, which lay with him in the bunk, looking for the pack of lho-sticks.
  6. As the Sister and the Guardsman talked, Iudex finished his morning work out. Lowered himself from the large, sturdy pipe he had been doing pull ups on and landed with a hard thud. He wiped his face on his shirt before grabbing his pack of lho-sticks from on top his bunk. He grabbed on himself and offered another to Merrez.

    With an exhale producing a could of smoke, Iudex spoke his first words of the morning. "You know, Ellandra, I never quite got the whole 'burn the heretics' bit. Why not just shoot them, eh? Or put 'em in shackles and ship 'em off to a Penal world. You know those poor prison guards need work too." He held his manacles and shook them gently.

    With a chuckle he sat on his bunk, and began slowly going about putting on his armor and other equipment. Making sure that everything was in proper order, and that his uniform was up to standards.
  7. Elleantra understood the need for the Commisariat, especially in the ranks of the Guard. Most humans, be they guardsman or otherwise, have been known to be weak willed when facing the Emperor's foes. It was the role of the Commisar to, if not inspire his men to fight on bravely, then to become a more fearsome icon than their foe. "Of course. Very few could withstand our many rules, but they are necessary. Besides, I do not believe you would be allowed to fight for the Ecclesiarchy. The potential for you to become a Stormtrooper of the Ordo Tempestus is there, but the Militant arm of the Ecclesiarchy would never allow a man into their ranks."
  8. Elleantra then, upon hearing the Arbites speak, would answer his question. "It is simple, Arbites Gundyr. The heretic has created the ultimate crime and turned his back upon the Emperor's holy light. For that, they must suffer as they pay the ultimate price for their sins. What better way to do as such than with cleansing flame? That way, their body and soul may be cleansed of their sin. Besides, if they were left alive, they might spread their unholy corruption across His Holy Imperium." Her voice reverbated with holy fervor as she quoted a passage from one of her most holy scrolls from her monastary.
  9. Phillipe sat on his bunk studying the dataslate for the fiftieth time, the documents were more information about the commonality of behaviour and other related modalities of the criminal elements of the sector and it was dry stuff to him by now, but he was working to ensure he remembered and committed every detail to his memorance implant. As well as surreptitiously capturing several images of the Adepta Sororitas Novitiate, he wasn't much for prayer, but apparently it had it's perks.

    "A most perplexing job, mutants going missing on this planet, no investigations, unsurprising given the stigma for mutants, so many possibilities. Gangs recruiting the mutant underclass to their cause perhaps, or something more sinister perhaps?" He said aloud.

    The reference to the mutants brought one of their other colleagues out of his reveries, Wilhelm von Cavendish the XXXIII tore his gaze away from the Sororitas, he didn't see however the semi-nude female, he saw only the many grisly ways in which he might kill her or that she might die. And he thought it fitting for something that wanted to purge him simply for being born, though he admitted to his darkest self, it was hardly a unique feeling in his life.

    His leathers creaked as he turned to face the Administratum fellow. "Whatever it is, can't be good, last blasted thing anyone wants is a mutant uprising the only reward those ever have is the Arbites cracking down with flamers or a more zealous response from the Sisters Militant, though I had heard once about a mutant uprising so bad the Astartes were brought in to crack down on it." He cracked his knuckles and stood to stretch, his movements were nothing like people who knew he was a mutant might expect, instead it was the lithe relaxed movement of a nobleman.

    Returning to his seated position, but upright and alert instead of relaxed, he removed his stub auto from his pocket and field-stripped the weapon for cleaning. "Say what you like, Wilhelm, this mission is not going to simply rely on putting bullets in the right people." Phillipe said pointing at the weapon.

    "I do not believe it will Mr Kelman, but when the trouble starts you can count on me to put a bullet through the skulls of anyone in our way." Wilhelm smiled, a smile that never reached the black eyes that saw only the grisly manners in which he could grant others death.
  10. "Calm down Sister. No need to quote scripture to me." Iudex chuckled at her religious fervor. She reminded him of himself when he was younger before remembering that they were rather close in age. He gave her praying form one more look before continuing. "Give yourself a few years Miss Elleantra, you'll learn that the world is not so black and white as the Ecclesiarchy would like to suggest. Give it a chance, and you might realize that there are a large number of law abiding mutants."

    The Arbitrator turned towards Wilhelm. "Hell, you might even find that when it all comes down, they can even be worth having around." Iudex then turned his attention towards the Phillipe. "It is rather odd that the local law has done so little to investigate their disappearing populace. Seems to me that either they don't care, or as you suggested, there is something more extreme occurring."
  11. "Yes," Phillipe nodded, "While the plight of mutants is something most authorities could care less about, typically they would at least investigate their disappearances, from suspicion if nothing else."
  12. Elleantra resists the urge to channel a most holy anger against the Arbitrator, simply closing her eyes as she gathers her armour plated bodyglove. "I am not ignorant to the ways of the universe, Arbitrator. But when it comes to the topic of heresy, there is only black and white. For His Holy Inquisition, which lives in the deepest depths of gray however, being able to look at things through the lens of black and white simplifies things. Besides, would you be so foolish to denounce holy words so quickly when on a mission for His Holy Orders? Sometimes wisdom can be found in the most unexpectedly obvious places, after all."
    The Sister turns her attention towards Philippe upon the mention of "useful" mutants. "While that may be true, problems arise from both mutants and non mutants simply from their existance, as well as uses for their presence. For example, many of the Astra Telepathica are mutants. But at the same time, a mutation can be the sign of the touch of The Enemy, which earns them fear and anger."
  13. "Thanks, mate" Merrez said with a smile as he accepted the offered lho-stick, and quiclky lit it, adding to the smoke in the room. "I'll have to admit; I never epexted this when I was recruited for this. Discussion of morals, going deeper than most in the Guard did. Most of the guys and gals there firmly believed that it didn't matter to them. If we sere sent in, it was do or die. I don't doubt that some of out enemies could have been reasoned with. But then, I was never paid to think." He said with a shrug. "And I'm not sure I'd make a good Storm Trooper. Those guys always seemed a bit... Off to me. Enjoyed fighting a bit much or something." He lay back for a moment, before popping his head out of the bunk again. "Just to add to the mutant debate; I don't mind them as long as they behave. Which is also my oppinion of most of us." He said with a small chuckle.
  14. Canto was not particularly pleased with the travel accommodations. He was not one to be choosy, but Canto knew just how... difficult it was for some to be in his presence. Keeping this in mind, he had everything to be as unobtrusive as possible - staying away and participating in banter like the on-going one from a distance. While the Inquisitor had made it clear just what it is he was to the rest of his cell-companions, Canto knew the effects of his presence and chose to play it safe. He could not fulfill his pledge to the Inquisitor were he to die.

    At this point, he was lying on one of the top-most beds, thumbing the plasteel marble he kept on his person, absentmindedly thinking about this world they were visiting - Scaevola Prime. The large man decided to peek out from the top, and say,

    "Comrades, have we formulated a plan of action? I like idle chatter as much as anyone, but if we are all here, perhaps investigation logistics would be better served."
  15. The Sister looks over to the cell's resident Blank, offering a nod when he speaks up. "Good question, Canto." A part of her mind reels in disgust at his presence, but she does not let it show. "If our landing and departure goes smoothly, I believe we should work our way from top to bottom. Start with Imperial representatives and other high profile individuals, and work our way down, going through the Adeptus Arbites, eventually ending up with the thugs and gangs." She slips her bodyglove on under her robes, eventually finishing up and tossing the humble robes aside. The bodyglove's armour and cloth was covered with Adepta Sororitas symbols and iconography, the signature Fleur-de-Lis upon the plate that rests over her right breast. She then crouches, retrieving he Flak Cloak from her footlocker under her bunk, draping the thick material over her shoulders.
  16. "There's... Only one problem with that, Elleantra." The voice came from the Cabin, and a medium-tall figure shortly there afterwards appeared in the doorway, his two mechanical Mechadendrite's extending from his back, now that there was more room to fully extend them away from his back. He sighed in clear relief, and looked over his comrades. His Optical Mechadendrite quickly starts to flash slightly, a bright white light coming out from one of the 'screens' that illuminates those hidden within the dark parts of the ship. His optical sensor quickly retreats back into it's socket and the light shuts off. "Pardon for that, fellow squadmates. Just so I have a photo of your basic anatomy, in case... You were to get banged up to the point where none else would recognize you. Now, we already have our own directives to follow. We're to meet up with a Lucas Fantz, a local merchant. From him, we're supposed to get linked up on the information that he has regarding the mutations. That's atleast what our comms-link said. Of course, after that, we're more open on investigating ends. But I'd suggest checking out this 'Fantz' guy. Plus, free-equipment."
  17. Elleantra looks over to the Chirugurgeon, eyeing him over, before slowly nodding. She bends over and retrieves her weapons from their rite locations on the floor, trying to remember which one of them had the most familiarity with Machine Spirits. She decides that they will seek her out if they wanted to perform rites on her weapons, holstering and sheathing her hand flamer and chain blade. "I see. It is indeed much more efficient to follow leads instead of hunting everyone in the hive down. Hopefully his information will not be vague riddles and rumours." She dusts herself off slightly, before taking a seat upon her bunk.
    She lays back, closing her eyes and thinking about how her abilities can be best used. She recalls how her Sister Superior had mentioned how her social abilities were rather impressive for a simple Sister Initiate, though she did not elaborate on such things.
  18. Larl nodded with a clearly confident smile as he hears her response. "If that's all he provides, remember, another thing that was disclosed in our Comms-link is that we're fully authorized by the Inquisition to act however we deem necessary as long as we're doing this investigation. We can just very well break a few of his bones if need-be if he's going to act in his own interests as opposed to the Imperium's. So we shouldn't have to worry about any complications. Plus he owes the Inquisition. You don't double-cross the Inquisition without the Emperor himself coming after you." Larl bowed his head slightly as he mentioned the Emperor's name, whispering a quiet prayer for him before continuing. "Either way, what we're looking for is connections. If the mutations are connected on a molecular level, we have to find the source of the mutagen. We'll speak to 'Fantz', interrogate him if need be, equip ourselves with whatever he can provide, and follow the breadcrumbs. Just, remember to report in any major pieces of information we find. You all have the Channel Frequency, I hope."
  19. Iudex finally finished putting on his light carapace, and slid his helmet over his face. "Fantz will give us what we need. Don't any of you be concerned with that."

    The Arbitrator finished his lho-stick and out of habit reached for his shotgun that wasn't there. He let out a long sigh as he shook his head. He hated being disarmed. Crew safety his ass. The ship's crew was infinitely more safe with a weapon in his hand. It was times like these he wished he had taken to his training with the shock maul a bit more seriously.
  20. Wilhelm relaxed. "Well, regardless I, Canto and Tessera should probably approach the mutant community, and without any of you present, in case you hadn't noticed people tend to treat mutants as an underclass, so they're a rather closed community, I and Tessera are fairly obvious mutants, Canto is less obvious, but still a mutant, being a blank ain't exactly natural, rarer than psykers." He said plainly without rancor. "And that might help protect us from any psychic nastiness."

    Phillipe cocked his head. "The Honoured Novitiate is probably right, it might make more sense for the rest of us at least to look from the top-down, at least I can get us access, I think, to the Administratum sector, find out what they know, Iudex might be able to query the worlds local Adeptus Arbites prefect and find out why they aren't investigating..."
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