The rain did nothing to wash the stench away. It lingered on, despite the punishing force the rain exerted on the world around her. The rain had not let up for over a week now and it was becoming a serious threat to the stability of the spires multitude of centuries old buildings. The dirty, toxic water sloshed knee deep through the streets, it slithered its way into buildings already damaged from the war that had engulfed the entirety of Meridian. It pooled on rooftops that threatened to collapse and flooded entire sections of the spire. But it did not wash the stench away. She could smell it from a mile away, she could tell she was getting closer to her quarry, closer to the man she would kill. For the stench was not of death or the remnants of the Tyranids and Greenskins that had burned their way through this world, it was the stench of heresy. It was the stench of Governor Vandis, the man Inquisitor Flores would kill.
Water dripping from the brims of her hat, Inquisitor Flores turned her head back towards the small gaggle of guardsmen huddling behind the cover of a huge wreck of some Greenskin contraption, its tracks destroyed, its guns ruined, yet its mechanical saw still periodically spasmed, much to the chagrin of guardsmen Yates, who was nearest to it.
"There is no need to take cover," she half shouted, half sneered through the rain. "We are alone here for the moment." She positioned herself in the middle of the street, completely open to any potential enemies to prove her point. Sergeant Wilkus grunted and hauled himself and his nine man squad towards her. Perhaps she was being too harsh on them, she reflected to herself. These men were grenadiers of the 53rd Meridian, formerly the 22nd Vandis before the Governors' treachery. They were probably among the best Guardsmen in the system. They were however, not up to the standard of her usual retinue, whether they be storm troopers of the Inquisition or the esteemed Adepta Sororitas.
Sergeant Wilkus approached Flores cautiously, not wanting to get too close to an Inquisitor even in the middle of warzone. Such was the fear that an Inquisitor inspires simply by being an Inquisitor. Flores smiled warmly to the tense Sergeant and then to the rest of his squad.
"Relax sergeant; you and your squad are doing the Emperor's work today. We are close, I can feel it. We must go deeper; Vandis is not foolish enough to stay above the ground. He is hiding underground like a rat. We shall burn him out."
She flourished her inferno pistol, a pistol that spewed forth holy flame, to indicate she was not talking figuratively.
They pushed deeper into the spire, finding access points that were not too damaged by war or by the flooding water that allowed them to travel further and further underground. They found no living thing, human or alien other than dirty sewer rats and buzzing insects that crowded around any still working light sources. To Flores this dank and decaying environment of the lower levels of Hab-Spire Seven was as fitting a place as any for the heretic Vandis to die.
Vandis. The heretic who had sold his soul and his people to the Great Enemy, to the corrupting powers of Chaos, the incompetent fool who had completely failed to protect a system that was integral to one of the mighty chapters of the Adeptus Astartes, he was now technically unimportant to the defense of this system, his band of heretics now following the orders of his infernal masters. But Flores mandate as an Inquisitor of the Ordos Hereticus was clear. Vandis was a traitor and a heretic. He would burn this day. Flores would make sure of it.
Flores and Wilkus' squad of Grenadiers continued to make their way through the deeper levels of Hab-Spire Seven, moving cautiously and staying alert for any enemies or flash flooding as rain water found its way from the surface to the lower levels. Eventually they came to a large double metal door, at least two metres high and wide. Emblazoned on it was an eight pointed star with a grinning skull, hastily painted words proclaimed under it.
DEATH TO THE FALSE EMPEROR
Flores smiled, obviously Vandis did not think anyone would try to track him down on this planet, or else he would not have made been so emboldened as to openly display such a symbol and words. He honestly believed that all were tricked into thinking he had left the system. Nobody could fool the Inquisition. Flores nodded to Wilkus, who readied his men. Flores strode confidently up to the metal door and fired her inferno pistol at the symbol, burning it and the heretical words to ash. She then casually kicked the door open and strode inside.
The door opened up into a large barren chamber, it was poorly lit and only the centre could be clearly seen. In the centre sat a fat, ugly man with dirty, waspish hair on a small wooden chair that struggled to support his wait. Flores could also see a small table full of objects that she could not readily identify.
Vandis swung round at the noise of the inferno pistol and the opening door, shrieking with fear.
"Protect me! Help me! HELP ME!" Vandis squealed at nothing in particular, his chubby cheeks wobbling, his beady eyes widening in terror. Flores ignored the protests and continued striding towards him.
"There is no one to help you heretic, you will be now judged for you cri-"Flores cut off as she felt another presence in the room. A silhouette of a monstrous shape stepped out from the shadows behind the quivering Vandis. She had been wrong, Vandis was not alone. The shape gave a menacing growl of laughter, oddly distorted by a vox and stepped into the light. The monster was clad in black power armour and symbols of his Chaos masters. The monster was a Chaos Space Marine.
Flores aimed her pistol and fired jet of deadly promethium at the marine, the marine showed quickness that made a mockery of his size and moved out the way while drawing his chainsword with a terrifying roar. Flores gave a cry of her own and charged the monster with her powersword, a weapon capable of cutting through even the toughest armour. They met head on as the grenadiers opened fire. The marine easily smashed her sword from her hand and batted her away with his elbow. Flores flew back and landed heavily, ribs cracked and her sword well out of reach.
The guardsmen were veteran Grenadiers who had fought and beaten Orks, Tyranids and heretics alike. They were the best that Meridian had to offer. They were cut down one by one. Culcis was killed by a broad sweep of the monsters chainsword while Yates lost his head to a bolt round. Another squealed as he was disembowelled by the laughing giant. Flores fought her way back up as Wilkus died pouring bolt after bolt into the marines armour to no effect, his headless body slumping to the ground.
Alone now Flores fired her pistol at the marines head. The marine did not have time to dodge the deadly flame this time and his laugher turned into a shriek of agony. He fired blindly with his bolt pistol and Flores was winged in her shoulder and hip, the shells luckily not hitting enough flesh to explode and carried on harmlessly passed her. Flores threw herself down towards a fallen grenadier, her fingers grasping for a frag grenade he never had time to use. The marine dropped his pistol and chainsword and used both hands to grasp at his burning helmet; it appeared the immense heat had melted his helmet to his face. With a mighty roar of pain and anger he ripped off his helmet. Flores saw a glimpse at his horribly scarred and burned visage as she threw the armed grenade at his head and rolled away as quickly as she could. The detonation echoed and ripped through the chamber, throwing Flores further away and almost bursting her ear drums.
Flores crawled back towards the dead marine. Amazingly he was still somewhat intact minus his head. His armour was cracked and leaking some sort of viscous fluid. Realizing she had lost her pistol in the explosion she crawled towards the marine's weapon. She clutched it and struggled to her feet, her cracked ribs and other wounds flaring up in agony. She dragged the oversized pistol along the ground as she hobbled painfully and slowly towards the still whimpering Vandis, who had been thrown to the ground by the explosion.
"Governor Vandis, you have been found guilty of gross incompetence, of cowardice, of treason and"
With a final effort she dragged the weapon upwards and aimed at Vandis.