Dark Heresy: The White Chamber

V

Vay

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Severus' feet sunk into the mud with a sickening squelch, he felt the pang he always felt when he left hive life behind. In a low crouch he followed Vates his bodyglove getting covered in mud as he did so, but the blessed metal of his rifle, wrapped in cloth remained clean. Each man handled fear in a different way and every man feel its grip before battle. A group of veterans, one of them carefully rending their company's honor standard joked with eachother, their dialect lost on the assassin but the mock gestures the speaker made was clearly part of a war story and the bored expressions on his companions faces told him it was one told often. Others checked their equipment while an officer's drill calls could be heard from somewhere not to far away.

into the trench Severus jumped, feeling more and more out of his depth. He has a hunter of men not an investigator or front-line soldier and not for the first time wondering in Conway had been mistaken, seen something in Severus what wasn't there but the Inquisitor's gaze and manner always gave the unsettling impression of seeing into parts of his soul even he didn't know about. "This offensive will make a very good distraction and the greenskins fill their poles with the heads on the soldiers he may be able to slip though in the night." He pulled his telescopic sight from a small sleeve and peering at the front lines over the wall of the trench.

To the job, his way of dealing with fear.

He looked at Vates, the only true investigator amongst them, the most important one in the group, the man he would have to die to protect if needed. "Which first, the crash sight of the old man, assuming hes still alive?"
 
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D

Darkness

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Nostalgia wasn’t a feeling Julius was used to, and strangely enough, he was getting that strange sense of talking about better times. Back then, his worries were running out of lho-sticks, ammunition and distance from the nearest roof during rain or snow; not dying was a priority well hidden behind trivial things, only surfacing on the worst moments.

His life was full of those moments now with the Inquisition, the best rest he had was a lho-stick break and standing as a door guard while Vates did his job, getting information and piecing things together, unlike Julius. Nevertheless, the man tried, and stuck around with the Arbites to see if some of it rubbed off on him, surely Conway would see a promotion was headed Julius’ way if he stayed sane, being alive wasn’t as important in the Inquisition.

In the deep of his mind, in the very depths of it, he wished he was another one of the soldiers in the trenches, dripped in mud and not having anything resembling a bathroom close, but getting paid to hang out, drink and shoot at heretics made up for it, until the shooting started.

”I doubt the Evertore stuck around the ship after it crashed,” Julius tried to get off his shotgun some specks of dry mud near the barrel of the gun, ”But I guess the informant can tell us which is closer.”
 
W

Warmaster Death

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Musical Score: Running Blind (Acoustic) - Godsmack

CAine had watched the guard procession with detachment, though the human side of his brain, the side that he had never truely replaced, and to the detriment to his professional aspirations, refused to replace, felt somewhat saddened by the waste of it all, the men, the equipment, all sent into a meat grinder where there were perhaps other, better ways of destroying the xeno.

The Tech preist slowly lifted himself into the trench, his Mechadendrites and limbs whining in the freezing cold air, in fact, caine's robe and armor insulated him from some of the cold, but every time the wind picked up, the tech preist could swear that icicles reached past his augmentations and to the small fleshy parts that remained.

reading the look in his brother acolyte's eyes, Caine slapped a metal hand to Julius' back, the gesture rare though significant
"wishing you were back in the guard my freind?" Caine's voxsponder rasped, it too, seemingly suffered in the cold, though none could tell if that was jsut the Tech Preist trying to emulate human vocal patterns.

Caine's eyes drifted to Severdus and Vates, and his ears picked up there conversation, and benath his steel facemask and augmentics, he smiled, relishing once again the freedom he felt in simply following orders rather than giving them.

"If we were to go to the crash site, i could analyze the ruins and determine what, if anything was taken from the vessel, i could also, omnissiah willing, gain access to the ships cogitator archives, should they remain intact" the Tech presit interjected, though he ahd his doubts.
 
C

Cosmic Orion

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The entire ride there his mind had been focused on calculating just how far the battle had gone in one direction or the other. Information he knew about the battlefield only had such a shelf-life before some event turned the tide on way or another. Less than a week had passed since his last contact with the informant he had used to gain intelligence on the Ork Warzone. After all investigating it himself would have been time consuming travel-wise and possibly made certain entities in the Hive World suspicious of him beyond the usual amount everyone held toward one another. For that reason he had helped another working for Inquisitor Conway get settled into just the right job which was not too high or too low in the pecking order when the Orks first showed up.

But to the others, all he did the whole ride there was keep making checks to his Laspistol and the strange gauntlet attached to his arm. Still no one in the group knew the function of it beyond perhaps keeping that one area of that arm from getting chopped off as easily as the rest in battle. For the final leg of the journey he had been checking his own battle helmet. It had been a while since needing to don the extra piece of armor which was sleek and black in color. Now after he had finished that. . . the informant merely stared at his reflection on the visor of his helmet while saying nothing to the others.

Upon arriving at the end of their host's hospitality, Cobier quickly put on his helmet and secured it firmly to ensure it was fitting onto his head correctly. After that the whine of something electronic whirring to life filled the air as a series of faint purple lights came on across the black surface in certain spots. He exited along with the rest of them, landing in the mud of the terrain which shook from the thunderous artillery beating down. His eyes were searching the landscape for something as he continued to remain silent. No longer did he stare at his own reflection. Though they could no longer see it, informant's face had taken on an air of seriousness and dedication to duty. . . the reasons why Conway had likely assigned him to such a possibly boring yet easily dangerous job on the Hive World.

He followed them all into the trenches before motioning each of Vates' group toward him, including Vates, so that he could discuss with them the approach they would take on their current course of action to the mission objective. Others around them were too engrossed in their own ways of preparing to fight the Orks to care about these new arrivals. Cobier left on the helmet due to not needing any new developments in the Warzone to end his life prematurely.

"It would be to our advantage to get a update on the situation around here from one of my contacts. Conway recruited him too so don't worry. He hasn't failed me yet and can tell us what sort of forces on our side are available. . . or at least what kind of units the Emperor has blessed this battle with. Now, if it is alright with you-"

He indicated Vates, not having yet gotten a formal introduction to what he had grasped by now as the group's leader.

"-Might I lead the way to where he is stationed? If you want to find him yourself instead, a trait to look for is that he has rather. . . unique eyes. Cyber eyes to be exact. The kind which can see in the dark."
 

Asmodeus

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Vates nodded, his Arbitrator helm reflecting the gleam of tracer fire in the night sky. He slapped Cobier on the shoulder, signalling him to lead on, then glanced back at the others.

"If we are separated, we meet at the pass to Gorlake Mountain. Forget your hatred for the greenskin this night. We have darker foes to hunt."

He set off after Cobier, weaving through the trenches with Caine close on his heels. The arbitrator kept his shield at the ready, knocking aside any guardsmen who did not give way. The forward trenches were beginning to fill with the first wave of green PDF soldiers, many lugging antiquated heavy weapons and mortars that had seen better days. They were too fixated on the crimson horizon and the music of artillery shells, their young faces lit by distant explosions - so they did not notice the Acolytes that rushed in front and behind them.

They made about five turns through the zigzagging maze, ducking beneath the tracks of Leman Russ tanks as they ploughed over the top of the trenches. And then Vates drew to a halt as a body toppled into the mud before him, a PDF recruit with half his skull boiling away. The corpse had fallen from up top, and as Vates raised his head he saw Cobier crouching by the razorwire.

For a moment he thought Cobier had killed the man, but the silhouette standing a few feet from the informant proved otherwise. A Commissar was directing troops out of the forward trench, his men moving much faster now that he executed one of their number.

"COWARDICE AND LETHARGY ARE BROTHERS IN SIN," the Commissar was roaring, a sabre resting against his shoulder, a laspistol in his other hand flecked with the blood of the man he had killed. "THE EMPEROR DOES NOT REST, AND NEITHER DO WE. ONWARDS!"

Grabbing a handhold, Vates hauled himself out of the trench and up next to Cobier. Exchanging another nod with the informant, the Arbitrator moved forward in a low stoop, feeling painfully exposed up here on No Man's Land. The ground before him was flat, broken only by razor wire and mud-filled craters. The PDF troops beginning the advance were moving in the same stooped way. It seemed that the Commissar was the only one on the battlefield standing upright.

Vates crouched a short way off from the Commissar, his shield towards No Man's Land. "Greetings from the Left Hand, Commissar."

The officer turned a scarred eye and glanced down at Vates, instantly finding the Inquisitorial seal that hung around his neck. In one sweep of his gaze, the Commissar took in Vates and the other Acolytes, then went back to watching his own troops. "A servant of the Left Hand should not come unannounced. Nor should he crouch while addressing an Officer of the Ministorum."

Vates stared at the man's back for a moment, grimacing slightly. Then he took a breath and straightened up, standing fully and whispering a prayer that a stray bullet would not cut his duty short. He closed the distance with the Commissar, holding his nerve as artillery shook the air around them. "We need to reach that Space Hulk."

"The metal corpse is not my concern - only the plague that poured from it."

Vates glanced at the fresh-faced troops rushing towards the front. He doubted that any of them would get to the crash-site alive. They were just the first wave - the pawns to be sacrificed before the more grizzled Guard units moved in. "You're the first wave?"

"General Kraegard has granted us the honour of dying first." The Commissar's teeth clenched together in a grin as he basked in the glow of artillery fire.

"Let my men advance with yours. Perhaps they will push a little further."

The Commissar looked at him for the second time. "And what says the General to your intent?"

Vates held his gaze. "A servant of the Left Hand should not trouble a general. Nor should he supersede an Officer of the Ministorum."

As in all matters of politics, there was a thin line between insult and respect. Luckily for Vates, the Commissar was sitting on the right side of that line. After staring at Vates for a few moments longer, his grin grew wider. "Have you ever killed a Greenskin, Acolyte?"

"No."

"Then fear not, for I will you have waist deep in their blood before the night is out." The Commissar holster his laspistol. "Welcome to Beta Company, the Emperor's finest!"

And with that, he was gone, stalking after his men and screaming at them to move faster. The small PDF company jogged into No Man's Land, Chimeras and Sentinels flanking them as artillery fire roared overhead. Vates looked back at Cobier. "We have an escort. Let's find your contact."

Cobier gave a nod and moved onwards, following the shadows of the guardsmen.

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C

Cosmic Orion

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Amongst the shadows the the guardsmen which brimmed with young enthusiasm, Cobier looked slightly out of place for the first time in months. Only by standing in the shadows created by others would the feeling be assuaged as the Company progressed further. It was the difference in attire which set him apart from the new recruits. The artificial pitch black body glove with those accents of a dull yellow trim in certain spots stayed consistent until the helmet atop his head. Sleek yet in some way imposing, the mostly black piece of equipment possessed a bit more shine than the body glove while specifically placed violet lights were alive with electricity as they performed an unknown purpose. But then again all of Vates group stood out from the Beta Company if more than a glancing eye were swept across their forms. So perhaps in that way. . . he blended in even further with those he was assigned to guide by Inquisitor Conway.

Casicus, his informant, was silently lurking somewhere on this battlefield in not-so-plain sight. That much Cobier had come to expect from the one who was an informant to an informant. It took a trained eye that knew what to look for in order to find certain clues left behind. Killing without showing claws to the prey or another predator. Even in a Warzone this was the way Casicus seemed to work. . . evidence from the incident in the abandoned tiers of the hive had pointed toward it. Just enough of each man's style was understood by the other to make them recognizable to one another without behaving the way Vates' group had earlier in the bar. Their actions were coded symbols delving beyond that level depending on the given situation.

Right now everything needed to remain professional.

Natural movements drove the direction of his unseen gaze around the brutally broken area of No Man's Land as artillery fire increased the devastation. Time was ticking along slowly then kicked down and punched up from the firefight. Apparently nervousness came out of Cobier through a twitch in his right hand that started as a fist clenched tighter than magnetized metal. No one could see it hidden amongst the shadows of so many men surrounding the Informant. First the pointer finger extended, then the middle finger, then the ring finger, then the pinky, and finally the thumb. But nothing happened and it repeated again in the same pattern as before. Only this time the thumb did not extend at the end along with his other fingers. Again it repeated with an end result that lacked both the thumb and pinky finger. Cycling over and over the pattern went until naught a digit extended.

By then, someone had found him.